Confirmed coronavirus cases are increasing faster than initially expected, California officials said, indicating the much-anticipated surge may be on the way.
“We originally thought that it would be doubling every six to seven days. We see cases doubling every three to four days,” California Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly said at a news conference Wednesday. Ghaly said at that rate, he expects hospitals will see a surge in one to two weeks.
As of Thursday morning, California has over 3,000 confirmed cases, far behind the U.S. coronavirus epicenter of New York. New York City alone has over 21,000 cases and the state is reporting nearly 400 deaths as hospitals reportedly face “apocalyptic” conditions. Ghaly said, at this rate, California now is on pace to match New York’s numbers.
Preparing for the worst-case scenario is on the minds of California politicians, who are warning residents to stay vigilant.
“The worst days are still ahead,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Wednesday.
In a press conference yesterday, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Dr. Grant Colfax, the city’s public health director, said San Francisco hospitals need 1,500 more ventilators and 5,000 additional hospital beds to prepare for a potential influx of serious coronavirus cases in the city.
Breed said she reached out to Vice President Mike Pence and the Trump administration about securing additional resources.
“I hope they will deliver for the people of this state and the people of this country,” she said. “Time cannot be wasted on interactions that don’t lead to the kinds of results we need.”
Colfax spoke to the measures San Francisco has already taken, noting that the city has hired 80 new nurses, begun preparing non-hospital locations for patients, continued to obtain additional personal protective equipment supplies, and decreased the number of in-hospital visits for non-critical cases.
The city is preparing for “a scenario like what is playing out in New York this very day,” Colfax said.