It’s been a tough month for us all as we cope with the continuing fight against COVID-19.
I believe though that if we stay home and follow the county health officer’s shelter in place orders, we will defeat this together.
We are in life-saving mode now. Make no mistake about it. More than 20 individuals in San Mateo County have now died from the virus. That is 20 too many.
Fortunately, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors had the foresight March 10 to pledge $20 million on a 4-1 vote to continue operations at Seton Medical Center in Daly City which was facing imminent closure.
Just three weeks later, its nurses, doctors and staff have now become an integral component of the state’s around-the-clock effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and care for its survivors.
In the time since that vote, the Board also has banned evictions of renters and created the San Mateo County Strong Fund with an initial $3 million in seed money to assist individuals, nonprofits and small businesses during this crisis.
We have also learned that the shelter in place order will be extended until May 3 with new restrictions meant to keep us all safe.
My staff has been asked not five, not 10 but thousands of questions from constituents in the past three weeks, many who are facing job losses; many who may have to close their small businesses; others who wonder if essential supplies such as toilet paper will be available when they shop; and others who wonder whether our health care professionals have the personal protective equipment needed to safely do their jobs.
We are doing our best to answer your questions.
I can tell you that Seton does not currently have a good supply of PPE and will need more as we expect a surge in cases.
There are now more than 600 individuals in the county who have tested positive for COVID-19, 17,000 in California and 400,000 in the United States.
I can tell you that unemployment benefits have been extended and that no-interest Small Business Administration loans are available to assist the lifeblood of the California economy – our small business owners.
I have also worked with the California Grocers Association to assure my constituents that hoarding and panic shopping are not necessary as the supply chain remains strong.
Store hours have been modified and hours have now been set aside for older adults to shop for essential items such as medications, food and sanitary products.
Our older population is more at risk of suffering from complications from the coronavirus and we must do all that we can do to protect them.
But younger adults are also at risk, which is why more restrictive orders to limit social activities have been implemented. We can all visit our beaches together when this is over.
In the meantime, get some exercise and continue to stay connected with family and friends. Most importantly, stay home.
I’ve been most comforted by the time I have been able to spend with my son Piero and wife Ana during this new normal. I also want to thank my staff for continuing to work with diligence during this global pandemic.
Together, we will get through this with empathy and compassion.
David J. Canepa serves on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors representing District 5, which includes Brisbane.