Community News

Supervisor Slocum's Bulletin Mar. 2021

Author: 
Community Affairs
Greetings!
 
I continue to be amazed at how much San Mateo County and its many partners are doing to help residents during these challenging and historic times. Just a few examples include Nuestra Casa in East Palo Alto and their efforts aimed at delivering food to families and Pastor Baines and Project WeHope in the same community whose work is aimed at housing and the homeless. Mid-Peninsula Housing and the Mental Health Association are working feverishly to house vulnerable seniors at our new housing facility in Redwood Shores. In Menlo Park, Peninsula Volunteers’ Little House has done so much for seniors and Sister Christina and the St. Francis Center in North Fair Oaks has done so much aimed at providing housing and more for those in need. There are so many wonderful non-profits like Upward ScholarsFamilias Unidas and the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center who are doing amazing work. Obviously, the County can’t solve complex issues working on its own and it takes all of us working together. 

Best,
Warren Slocum
ONE YEAR IN:
COMING BACK FROM COVID
 
It’s been one year – one whole year. This month is the one-year anniversary of the first Shelter-in-Place order – specifically it was March 17, 2020.
 
Words that became part of our daily lives like: social distancing; work from home; essential workers; distance learning; frontline workers; wear your mask. Many milestone events cancelled: family celebrations; holidays together; vacations. And phrases that defined us as a community: All of Us; Together apart; Flatten the Curve. And lives were lost.
 
And through this unprecedented year – there has been many examples of the kindness and “can-do” spirit within our County. Many organizations stepped up, including San Mateo County, to help keep renters in their homes, keep food on the table as people lost their jobs and savings, keep children connected to their schools, feeding those who were homebound, helping our small businesses to survive, helping our immigrant population – and so much more. We are San Mateo County Strong – and I have never been prouder than now to call this county “home”.

For a longer recap of this past year: https://bit.ly/38XDr9q.
WE'RE IN THE ORANGE TIER!
 
Last week, San Mateo County moved to the Orange tier – one on only 5 counties in the entire state. It is because of our hard work and that we continue the safety protocols of wearing masks and social distancing and more. It is also due to our testing numbers (San Mateo County is number one in the state for testing our residents), our healthy equity metric for cases, and our adjusted case rate.
 
What does this mean? Restaurants can continue indoor operations, but now at 50% capacity. Wineries can open indoors with 25% capacity. Bars and breweries where no food is provided can now open outdoors. Retail and shopping centers can open fully with modifications; and museums, places of worship and indoor movie theaters are all allowed indoors with 50% capacity. It is very good news!
 
Please continue to support our small businesses as they ramp up services – shop local! Also stay diligent and continue to follow safety guidelines including social distancing, wearing your mask, quarantine if you have been exposed to the coronavirus, and get tested! With our continued metrics, we might reach the least restrictive Yellow Tier sooner than anticipated and continue our return to normal!
A CHANGE IN VACCINE POLICY:
PRIORITIZING OUR MOST VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES
With the continued limitations of vaccine supply, San Mateo County has changed our vaccine strategy for the next several weeks. We are bringing the vaccine to our most vulnerable communities – bringing the battle to the fight so to speak.
 
As of March 23rd, the California Immunization Registry data shows a total of 248,006 San Mateo County residents receiving at least a first dose of vaccine, representing 38.6% of County residents age 16+. Among older adults (age 65+) who have been eligible to be vaccinated for several weeks, our reach is 80.3% (104,443) and among those 75+ it is 84.8% (46,635). And among the congregate living facilities where there is risk of exposure for residents and staff, the federal-pharmacy partnership for long-term care has reached 389 facilities with 98% completing second clinics.  This is tremendous progress achieved by the collective efforts of so many critical partners and vaccinating entities.
 
Remember - if you live or work here in San Mateo County and have questions regarding the vaccine rollout, email CovidVax@smcgov.org for answers in English and Spanish! 

DIGITAL BILL OF RIGHTS
At this week’s Board meeting, I co-sponsored a Digital Bill of Rights with Supervisor Don Horsley which was passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors. Its purpose is to ensure that all San Mateo County residents, especially those from our most vulnerable communities, can readily access reliable, high-speed internet through a computer or a tablet.
 
The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the need for a computer and a dependable high-speed internet connection to carry out essential activities and to access important services, including searching for a job, attending classes, accessing telehealth services, and many others. And, unfortunately, many households throughout California and in our county lack the financial means to obtain high-speed internet service, and as a result, there is a digital divide between those with access to a computer and the internet and those without.
 
This Digital Bill of Rights resolution aims to close the digital divide by identifying 11 essential digital access needs for all county residents. These include, the ability of all residents to access public Wi-Fi, regardless of income or geographic location. Closing the digital divide is critical to creating more equitable outcomes in education, health, and employment – and now that this has been set as a priority, the next step towards achieving this goal is funding. I will keep you apprised.
 
 
Supporting our AAPI Community - Stop Xenophobia!
 
This past year, we have seen an increase in acts of racism and violence against Asian Americans. Racism and discrimination have no place in our community or country. The recent events here in the Bay Area, and the senseless shootings in Atlanta, Georgia that killed six women of Asian descent and two others, sickened all of us. Asian/Asian American Pacific Islander make up around 30% of our residents – you are an essential part of the fabric of our community. Our County and the Board of Supervisors stand with you. It is our mission to protect the health, safety and welfare of all our residents. Racism, hate crimes and xenophobia have no place here, or anywhere. 
 
North Fair Oaks Library: New Name, New Services
 
On March 15, the Fair Oaks Library became the North Fair Oaks Library and was transferred to our San Mateo County Library System. The next day, curbside and walkup service without an appointment began for the first time since the pandemic. There are important changes happening here – and so important for this community jewel. Right now – children, families and patrons can pick up books curbside Tuesday-Saturday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. There are also book bundles for children to borrow right at the entrance, as well as some great giveaways, including Lego kits. This library will have a fully bilingual staff when it reopens to in-person service soon. And there’s more: this library will have a new emphasis on literacy services, a community meal program for all ages, and added technology, including laptops and hotspots for checkout. We are excited for the importance of the new services the library will provide to our community. Stay tuned!
 
So many in our community are sharing that their loved ones are having mental health issues as a result of or heightened by the pandemic. We are hosting a Facebook Live discussion in Spanish on mental health with our partners Redwood City Together (formerly Redwood City 2020) and Unidos (formerly CARON) on Thursday, April 15 at 6pm. For more information, please contact Maggie Cornejo in my office – mcornejo@smcgov.org.
 
Progress is being made on the renovation of Towne Suites in Redwood Shores and the Pacific Inn in Redwood City so that some of our most vulnerable seniors and homeless can move into their new homes.
 
In about a year, there will be a new Veterans and First Responders Memorial at County Center. The committee, including County Art Commissioners, Veteran Commissioners, First Responders and myself and Supervisor Groom have begun meeting with artist to design this memorial.
 
Aligning with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, California now recommends the new CDC guidelines allowing students to sit three feet apart – instead of six feet - in classrooms. For more on this: http://bit.ly/3vNM1BH
 
If you live in the North Fair Oaks area, please consider attending the North Fair Oaks Community Council meetings. They meet the fourth Thursday night of each month. For more information, contact our Office of Community Affairs at CommunityAffairs@smcgov.org.
 
 
March continues to bring hope that our recovery from this pandemic is near. But it’s still so important to follow safety protocols as we continue getting our community vaccinated. Remember to stay home, stay healthy, and continue to wear your mask when out in public!
 
If you want to get more insight into what my staff and I are working on, please connect with us on social media. It’s also a great way to interact with the office and to get notifications on upcoming events. Click the icons and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.