Bay Area COVID cases, hospitalizations climbing. How high will they go?

Coronavirus infections and hospitalizations are again in the Bay Area as region enters what public health officials say is the sixth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

San Francisco now has the second-highest rate of infection in California, with an average of 40 new daily cases per 100,000 residents, according to state data published Friday, behind nearby Santa Cruz County, which reported 43 per 100,000.

Both counties were reporting just 3 daily cases per 100,000 a month ago.

“I’m surprised it’s going up as much as it is,” said Dr. George Rutherford, an infectious disease expert with UCSF.

San Francisco, Santa Clara, Marin and San Mateo counties — as well as Santa Cruz — had all moved into the “moderate” level for community COVID presence as of Friday, as measured by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The calculation is based on case rates and hospitalizations. At that level, the agency recommends that high-risk individuals again use face masks inside public spaces.

All nine Bay Area counties, plus those surrounding the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and virtually the entire California coast, are also classified as having “high” virus community transmission rates, according to a separate CDC metric.

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