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SF upgraded to yellow risk tier as Covid cases soar

Tourists and San Francisco residents stroll the Financial District and Union Square on Feb. 1, 2022. | Camille Cohen

San Francisco has entered the yellow, “medium” tier of community Covid risk, signifying that more than 200 people out of every 100,000 residents have reported a positive test in the last seven days, according to the Center for Disease Control’s data tracker.

Cases in the city have risen sharply over the past several weeks, and the recent jump is an unusual distinction for San Francisco as it now finds itself ranking among the highest of any county in the state. Over 90% of San Franciscans have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, and hospitalizations remain far below past surges. 

People who are considered at high risk of serious illness from the virus are advised by the CDC to stock up on rapid tests and talk with their doctors about masking and other preventative measures. If you’re in contact with someone who is immunocompromised, the CDC recommends testing prior to exposure and wearing a mask while indoors.  The San Francisco Department of Public Health didn’t immediately respond for comment. 

San Francisco sat just beneath the threshold for the yellow tier last week, missing the mark by less than 2 cases. 

A new subvariant of Omicron called BA.2.12.1 may be driving the surge, according to some experts. The new strain has increased in its share of new Covid cases, growing since last week to account for 36.5% of all new cases in the U.S. However, there is no evidence indicating that BA2.12.1 leads to worse symptoms.  

David Sjostedt can be reached at