tv Mayors Press Availability SFGTV December 4, 2021 11:30am-12:01pm PST
with the right kids with a right place address time those kids don't have this you have to instill they can do it they're good enough now to finding out figure out and find the future for hi everyone. i'm san francisco mayor london breed and i know that many of you have been anxious to hear what's happening with this new omicron variant. the coronavirus and we're here today to talk about and announce that here in the city and county of san francisco under the university of california san francisco and
our partnership with the department of public health using the latest of technology, we have discovered our first case not only here in san francisco but the entire country and i wanted to at this time introduce dr. grant colfax to talk about the specifics and what that means in terms of what we need to do as a city. dr. colfax. >> thank you, mayor breed. good morning everybody and thank you, mayor breed, for your ongoing leadership during this pandemic. and i want to thank our partners at u.c.s.f. and especially dr. charles chiu and his team and i'd also like to thank our testing partner dr. scott topper. both are here today. and, of course my partner
dr. mary ellen carol. all of us have been working in the last 24 hours with our state and federal partners at cdc and the state department of health to determine whether this indeed is the first case of omicron that has been detected and that has indeed been the result of our work overnight. i want to acknowledge our health officer dr. susan philip. but i also want to emphasize this is not a surprise. for those of you who knew, we thought omicron was already here. we just hadn't detected it yet. so this is cause for concern, but it's also certainly not a cause for panic. we are prepared in the city for this with regard to the case
itself. the person recently traveled to south africa and they did the right thing and got tested and reported their travel history. they had mild symptoms and thankfully recovered. contacts have been notified by the health department. and, again, here's what we know now. san francisco is relatively well positioned to respond to variants. our vaccine rate is high. more boosters are going into arms every day. 5-11-year-olds are getting vaccinated at rapid uptake. our masking and vaccine requirements are among the most stringent in the country. these efforts have been very effective in helping us slow the spread of the virus. and there's still a lot we do not know about omicron. we don't know how infectious
itself although there's a strong likelihood that it is more infectious than delta. we don't know how sick it makes people. and we're studying that throughout the world. we don't know how the vaccines will protect against transmission due to omicron. but most experts that i have spoken to believe the vaccine is still protective against the omicron variant. to best protect against this variant, get vaccinated for goodness sakes if you have not been vaccinated. get your booster if you're eligible. continue to wear those masks inside where required.
continue to take the steps that we know that has been successful in san francisco to prevent major loss of life and to slow the spread of this virus. we know how to do this, san francisco. at this time, we do not anticipate changing any of our health orders or changing restrictions or imposing new restrictions in san francisco. we will share information as we have it and get vaccinated, get your booster, wear the mask and for goodness sakes it's been a long almost 24 months now. please have a great holiday season with your family. and now i'd like to turn it over to dr. chiu whose team
worked so hard overnight to make sure we get this information as quickly as possible. thank you. >> good afternoon. so my laboratory at university california san francisco has been working very closely over the past year with the san francisco department of public health, the california department of public health and color genomics on genome basics of the virus. by that, we identify covid positive cases in the city and county, we make an attempt to sequence all cases that we are able to identify. this particular sample, i heard about it yesterday at about 3:00 p.m. and we were able to receive the sample in the laboratory by 8:00 p.m. we ran a very fast molecular test which looks for psychgene
drop-out. we were able to get the results of that test within two hours showing that potentially this sample was an omicron variant sample l. to concur this finding, we needed the viral genome of this virus and we used a pocket size sequencer made by oxford technologies. this is a sequencing technology in which we can go from detecting the virus to being able to detect the entire genome within a few hours. we were able to confirm the detection of omicron within five hours and we had most of the genome within eight hours. so 4:00 a.m. last night we were
able to detect the omicron variant. thank you. >> thank you. i think the goal of the public is to get vaccinated. the challenges with the covid-19 virus and what this means is we want to make sure that people get vaccinated. so at this time, if anyone has any questions, please let me know. are there any questions?
yes. i'll let dr. colfax answer that question. >> i'm sorry. i heard about sequencing, but i didn't quite hear the details of the question. i'll try to answer what i take the character of the question to be which is we are continuing to work with color, with dr. chiu's lab, with the state to sequence samples. we work with a number of partners in doing that. so generally, we're sampling more in san francisco and it depends on the site. so with our partnership at u.c.s.f. and the latino
taskforce, all those samples are being sequenced and then i'll turn to have them answer what percent of their samples are being. i think the key with the sequencing right now with the sample, the turn around time is considerable. so that's why we really wanted to run this sample locally as quickly as possible. as you know, across the nation and across the state locally, we're continuing to ensure that we sequence specimens as quickly as possible. again, i think the point is omicron is here. i don't want to be focused on when's the next case coming. we should all be reactive as we were yesterday. we need to get those vaccines and boosters get tested if you know that you've been exposed and continue to wear those masks. and i don't know if you have more to add. dr. topper. >> yeah.
so color health provides much of the infrastructure to execute their programs to defend against covid. to make unique samples available for sequencing. almost 100% of the samples, of the positive samples that are identified in san francisco and in california are being routed for sequencing. my name's scott topper. i'm the vice president of clinical operations at color. i'm going to let dr. philip
answer that question. >> i believe you were talking about walking through contact tracing. first of all. thank you to our lab partners. also, thank you to the individual themselves. they recognized that they had symptoms and they did what we should all be doing which is to get tested with symptoms. and then they reached out to sfpdh, with our team. we were able to speak with them. so with all investigations and contracting, we're talking to the individual, understanding what their risk factors might have been, in this case travel and i'm speaking with them to make sure they're staying home and once they know they have a positive test and then speaking to them about close contact. so that is the usual path that we follow, that is what we're doing in this case and we're in the process of doing that with this individual now. the question was what kind of
close contacts? yeah. for privacy reasons, we are giving out limited information about the specifics of the individual, but we are in the process of finding out the people that may have been in close contact with them and reaching out to those individuals specifically. the general definition is of a close contact is someone who has been within 6' for 15 minutes or more. that's the definition that has not yet changed. as we are learning more. we will understand that that definition has to change if this virus was more transmissible and that is generally what we ask people about. we most often will ask what other people are residing in the home. it's generally the length of time and being with someone. that is all in process now.
the question is now people have been traveling outside southern africa. the travel policy is governed at the national level and so we know there is a restriction, noncitizens traveling. we understand from our cdc colleagues that additional steps and requirements will be coming into place. and people are required to have a test within 72 hours. and we likely will be hearing more in the coming days with omicron of additional steps people will be asked to take pre and post travel. >> the question was about age.
we're not giving specific information. this was a previously healthy individual. their symptoms were mandy bujold and they did not have to be hospitalized. yes. this person was aware of the news of omicron and that's why they appropriately reached out after they returned from travel and then had their positive test result through the color laboratory. they got their result and reached out to public health. so i really appreciate the person's awareness and collaboration on this case. >> yeah. there's another question here. yeah.
i think that's probably an answer for dr. chiu. so the question is what lessons could sequencing provide for you. sequencing is very useful, has been shown to be very useful as a way to understand how understand the emergence of new variants in the community. it can also help with contact tracing, with being able to investigate outbreaks because the genome sequence is very often is specific for giving an individual so we can use the genomic sequence for how the transmission chains from person to person in the course of an outbreak. and from this example, it's useful in identifying specific variants such as the omicron variant. to be able to identify the new
variants in the community. i'm sorry. i missed that question. >> reporter: [inaudible] >> based on the question you're asking, is this the first sequence -- is this the first sample l that we've sequenced outside of the country? this is the first example of where we saw the s-gene sample. i've been told we have time for one more question. thank you and just to emphasize, you know, this is not where we were 20 months ago. we are in a much better place. i don't want us to focus on
check one two. it's that time. first, let me introduce phil ginsburg, the general manager of park and rec is going to introduce the mayor. let's welcome phil ginsburg. >> happy holidays everybody. >> welcome back after a really difficult couple of years. welcome back to golden gate park. it's crazy out here. first thing i want to do is let's hear it for our incredible mc. unique. all right. so my job is to welcome you all
to the annual lighting of our beloved uncle john tree and the kickoff of the lights. brought to you by the recreation and parks department. the san francisco parks alliance, illuminating the conservatory of flowers and the national memorial grow. all right. i only have about 20 more minutes. it will be good. so let's talk about how important this celebration is. this special v.i.p. i'm going to bring up in a second has been lighting holiday trees and and menoras all over the city for a week. there's only one city holiday tree and it's right behind you.
let me tell you a little bit about this tree because to understand this tree, to understand our city and to understand golden gate park. this tree, uncle john's tree named after john mclaren who was the longest serving parks director in city history, 56 years. madam mayor, do you know the second? uncle john's tree is a cyprus and it was planted in 1986. of the that's 125 years ago. this ceremony tonight this ceremony tonight has been going on since 1930 which is the first time this tree was lit. so we are here on its 91st year
which is pretty mazing. and madam mayor has been coming to this tree lighting since 1970 started by mayor liota. for 51 years. that's longer than the mayor's been alive. so with that history in mind, golden gate park is always magical during the holiday season and this year, madam mayor, it's bigger and better than ever. so let me tell you, let me walk you all we're going to light the tree. afterward, we're going to walk down to that music concourse for part two to see the magic. one of the most popular installations of all timeses, this is an illuminated meadow
of interchanging lights. it's fantastic. right across from intwined and a little closer to us is the circle of light and it did it just two nights ago and you see the conservatory of flowers. and then you keep walking past how many people went on the sled tonight. let's give it up for the recreation and parks department. and then we keep going and all the trees around jfk, they're all lit up and then we work our way into the music concourse and there's doing to be free music on that big old 150' ferris wheel is lit up. that's how we celebrate the holidays in san francisco. all right. so a few thank yous and i'm going to bring up the woman
who's in charge of lighting this tree, but i want to thank all of our wonderful artists and performers, charles is here. of the joshua hubert has lit up all the trees. oliver did the circle of lights. dana king who did the incredible exhibit monumental reckoning and the music concord, ben davis who's here. i want to thank you to all our partners and then behind me, we had some amazing people the incredible department heads. our entire recreation and park commission. our staff who worked so hard to
put this on and then a special thank you to our parks program. in our san francisco police department and offer safe spaces. that's what parks are. safe spaces. healthy recreations for park visitors of all ages, for building jobs and leadership skills boosting college readiness and giving kids a good time. over the last four years, rec and park has hired 100 kids from our park program in just four years. we have 100 kids working for us, but tonight, they're only job is to help us with the count down. our park champion and chief. she's everywhere. she's keeping people working.
she's keeping people happy because she loves the fun and she loves her parks and she's been all over the last couple of weeks lighting trees. but tonight, madam mayor is the night. so give it up for our mayor. the honorable london breed. >> first of all, i don't think i've ever seen this many people at this tree lighting and it just makes me so happy because as you know last year, we couldn't come together in the same way, but we're here to celebrate the holidays and it just takes me back to when i was a kid and i used to beg my grandma, please, mom, i want this doll for christmas and please, mom, can we go downtown to woolworth where we can get toys and have fun and my grandmother would say only if you did good. only if you did your homework,
only if you listen. and i tried my best. i did the best i could. but during the holiday season, i can't help but think of the memories when i was a kid and what the time that i spent in san francisco and looking at the kids here now and thinking about the memories that they're creating. they're going to remember the days that they came here with mom and dad and grandma and uncles and just a different program to light this tree. so just remember this moment, remember where you are and remember who you were with because today, we're creating memories. and i want to take this opportunity to really thank the rec and parks department for all the work in this pandemic. let me tell you. this pandemic has been hard on so many of us and because our parks were still open and available to us, it was really the only sanity i'm sure many
of us had especially the parents and i want to thank them for their work and all the commissioners that are here. thank you to the families and all the people in san francisco. last but not least, before we light this tree i know we're tired of hearing talk, i just want to say we're at 70% of san franciscans vaccinated. so i am really excited about continuing to re-open our city. continuing to enjoy the holidays. so at this time, it is time to light the largest tree in san francisco to celebrate the holidays. happy holidays, mayor christmas, happy hanukkah and all the holidays in between. phil, can we get this thing starting? count it down.