San Francisco prepares for possible coronavirus outbreak

City staff began local testing for coronavirus. We are focused on helping the most vulnerable.
March 09, 2020
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On March 7, 6 more cases of COVID-19 were identified in San Francisco residents. All 6 had known contact with someone who had COVID-19. All are isolated at home and are in good condition.

On March 5, 2 cases of COVID-19 were initially identified in San Francisco residents. It is possible both cases are from community spread. Both patients are currently hospitalized.

Passengers aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship docked off of SF’s coast are being tested. California DPH and the CDC have decided the ship will dock in Oakland on March 9. When it is time for the passengers to disembark, it will be done in a way that protects the health and safety of the passengers and the community.

Get updates

You can get text message updates about what to do. Text COVID19SF to 888-777. 

You can also read the latest on

Your risk

Your risk for COVID-19 is based on your travel, your contacts, and exposure to the virus. No racial, ethnic or cultural group is more at risk.

What to do

Limit your outings if you are over 60 or have health conditions

We recommend you do not go to gatherings where there will be more than 50 people. If you can work from home, you should. Avoid people who are sick. 

Health conditions that make you vulnerable include heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and weakened immune systems.

Getting tested

Call your doctor if you think you have coronavirus. The most common symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Your doctor will contact the Department of Public Health, who will work with the CDC to decide if you can be tested. We will consider your travel, your contacts, and exposure to the virus. There is no on-demand testing. 

The lab at the Department of Public Health has begun testing for coronavirus. We expect to get results in 1 to 2 days. Before, getting results from the CDC would take 3 to 7 days.

Tips to protect yourself and others

  1. Wash hands with liquid soap and water, and rub for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Cover your cough or sneeze.
  3. Stay home if you are sick.
  4. Get your flu shot to protect against flu or symptoms similar to novel coronavirus.
  5. Instead of shaking hands, try other ways of greeting like elbow bumps or waves.
  6. Regularly clean surfaces you touch a lot. You can use disinfecting sprays, wipes, or regular cleaning products.
  7. Get more information if you are traveling.

Prepare in case of illness or quarantine

  1. Prepare to work from home if it is possible for your job.
  2. Think about how you and your family can get ready in case of illness.
  3. Make a backup childcare plan, in case you or a caregiver becomes sick.
  4. Make a plan if your child’s school closes.
  5. Make sure you have a supply of all the medications you need.

You do not need to wear a mask

There is no recommendation to wear masks. The best way to protect your health is by practicing preventive measures such as consistent handwashing, coughing and sneezing into your arm, staying home when sick, and getting a flu shot to help prevent illness and symptoms similar to the novel coronavirus.

Parents should plan for school closures

If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 at your school, the school will work with DPH to decide if it should be closed.

If your child is sick, keep them home. If your child has a chronic health condition, talk to your doctor about whether they should go to school.

All businesses should clean more often

To protect the public, businesses should regularly clean commonly used surfaces like:

  • Workstations
  • Countertops
  • Doorknobs
  • Kiosk screens

You can use your regular cleaning agents, following the directions on the label.

Provide disposable cleaning wipes for your staff to use. Encourage your employees to wipe down doorknobs, keyboards, desks, remote controls, and phones before using them. You should also provide tissues and alcohol-based hand sanitizer for your staff.

Businesses should protect their staff

We recommend that businesses suspend travel for employees for the next 2 weeks, if travel is not needed.

Minimize gatherings where staff will work within arm’s length of each other. This includes large in-person meetings and conferences.

Urge sick employees to stay home, without the need for a doctor’s note. They should stay home until they do not have symptoms for at least 24 hours. Create flexible sick leave policies.

If an employee starts to feel sick at work, have a space for them separate from other staff.

Plan how your business might run if you have fewer staff. Work with other business groups to coordinate a community response.

Read more tips for businesses on the CDC website.

Event organizers should consider cancelling or postponing large events

We recommend you cancel or postpone large gatherings that will take place in the next 2 weeks. Large gatherings can be concerts, sporting events, or conventions.

If you cannot cancel your event, work with your partners to create a contingency plan. Plan how your event might run with fewer staff. Plan to have a separate space at your event for people who start to feel sick.

Provide prevention supplies at your event, for attendees and staff. These include:

  • Sinks with soap
  • Hand sanitizers
  • Tissues
  • Trash cans
  • Disposable facemasks for people who start to feel sick
  • Finding ways to put more space between attendees

Read more tips for event organizers on the CDC website.

Public health officials are taking action

Mayor London Breed declared a local emergency on February 25, to prepare for a possible outbreak. Many City employees have been reassigned to help with coronavirus outreach and planning.

Stay informed

Stay up to date with the novel coronavirus information on the Center for Disease Control website. You can print out our fact sheet in English, Chinese, Filipino and Spanish.