The number of coronavirus cases in California is doubling every three to four days, the state's top health official said.
“We originally thought that it would be doubling every six to seven days and we see cases doubling every three to four days,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, the secretary of California's Health and Human Services Agency, said at a news conference Wednesday. "We’re watching that trend very, very closely.”
Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered most of the state's nearly 40 million residents to stay at home to stop the virus from spreading further. However, public health experts say that it may take up to two weeks to see the results of such travel restrictions, as the virus' incubation period ranges from one to 14 days.
Ghaly said authorities in California are anticipating a surge of cases and patients in a week or two.
A stark warning for San Francisco: Meanwhile, San Francisco Mayor London Breed warned Wednesday that if residents don't heed orders to stay at home, the California city could see a surge in coronavirus cases.
“If people who are out on the streets continue to congregate with one another, continue to interact with one another, which increases the spread of this virus, we will not have enough beds, enough ICU units, enough ventilators to support the people that we know are going to need them,” Breed said.
The mayor estimated San Francisco would need at least 1,500 more ventilators and 5,000 extra hospital beds to meet a larger surge of patients.
"It is plausible that despite all these efforts we could have a scenario similar to the one that is playing out in New York this very day," said San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax. "If that happens our capacity, our surge capacity will be far exceeded."