(Photo by Eduardo Santos on Unsplash)

Although San Francisco has yet to reach the purple tier — the most restrictive tier in California’s COVID-19 reopening system — the city’s Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said Tuesday he expects it to do so by later this week.

The city currently remains in the red tier, despite predictions made by Colfax last week that the city would reach the purple tier by this past Sunday.

During a Tuesday briefing, Colfax said although the number of daily new COVID-19 cases in the city remains below state and national levels, the recent surge is nonetheless concerning.

Just as of Nov. 18, the city was seeing an average of 118 new cases daily, a jump from 95 new average cases daily as of Nov. 11 and just 73 a week before that, on Nov. 4.

“We’ve seen an aggressive increase in our cases week over week,” Colfax said. “We are at a critical moment. We cannot let the virus get so far ahead of us, or we will never catch up.”

He added, “We are fast approaching the case count to be reassigned to the purple tier … We expect to be placed in that more restrictive purple tier sometime soon, perhaps later this week.”

Counties in the purple tier have been ordered by Gov. Gavin Newsom to adhere to a month-long partial stay-at-home order, requiring non-essential work and gatherings to cease from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Earlier this month the city was in the yellow tier, but last week it entered the red tier. As a result, the city has rolled back the reopening of non-essential offices and indoor dining at restaurants and bars with food and reduced capacity at indoor gyms and indoor movie theaters to 25 percent.

Plans to open high schools have also been put on hold. If the city enters the purple tier, several types of places would be forced to close within just 24 hours, including indoor museums, zoos, places of worship, gyms, and movie theaters. Additionally, capacity at retail stores, would be reduced from 50 percent to 25 percent.

San Francisco remains the only Bay Area county in the red tier.

“If you look at our regional map, we are surrounded by purple,” Colfax said. “We’re hopeful we can crush this third curve, but we do, nevertheless, expect to be in the purple (tier) very soon.”

More information about rollbacks and reopening can be found at https://sf.gov/step-by-step/reopening-san-francisco.