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Where San Francisco Stacks Up Among California Counties in State Covid Metrics

Written by Maryann Jones Thompson and Kevin TruongPublished May 04, 2022 • 4:16pm
San Francisco is the highest in California counties with new infections, followed by San Mateo, in what appears to be a new wave of the virus centered in the Bay Area.  Brontë Wittpenn/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

San Francisco is unaccustomed to sitting at the top of any Covid ranking—except, perhaps, major cities with the highest vaccination-plus booster rate. But over the past week, SF has been ranked as the county in California that has the highest average daily infections.

State data as of May 3 show 30 infections per 100,000 residents in San Francisco, making it the top California county in terms of new infections, followed by San Mateo, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara, in what appears to be a new wave of the virus centered in the Bay Area. 

The surge in local cases means that San Francisco is poised to jump into a higher CDC risk tier when the data is updated on Thursday. It’s important to note that experts generally agree that official Covid infection statistics are being undercounted because of the prevalence of at-home tests that fail to show up in the record.  

Those rising case counts coincided with an uptick in hospitalizations in San Francisco, their highest level since March. Both numbers look likely to continue to grow as average test positivity rates have ticked up to 7.5% and the prevalence of the even more infectious BA.2.12.1 continues to increase. 

However SF’s ranking in Covid deaths overall remains quite low, ranking 51st out of the 58 counties in the state. The city has tallied no recent deaths and only 96 deaths per 100,000 residents since the pandemic started, a much lower figure than that of Imperial County (475), San Bernardino County (327), and Los Angeles County (309).

The latest Covid statistics for each California county are included in the table below. Click the column heading to re-rank the counties based on different metrics. 

Kevin Truong can be reached at

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