7) Emily's Take On "The Big Picture"
Thanks for doing your best to follow County Health Officer's Shelter in Place orders. After 50 days, I know we're all tired. And with the announcement this week about the shelter order extending through the end of May, many are feeling frustrated that the goal-posts keep moving. Understandable. This is new territory for everyone, including our health officials who are working day and night to study this elusive virus.
But we're on the right track! While disruptive, inconvenient, and a hardship for so many, together our sheltering actions have flattened the curve, saved lives, and conserved precious hospital resources. County leaders are optimistic that more sectors of our economy will re-open in May, in a phased, measured way that balances public health and the need to resume some degree of normalcy. That said, we should expect social distancing, face coverings, and prohibitions of large group gatherings will be a part of life during the foreseeable future. We'll continue to need patience and flexibility on the long journey ahead.
As of May 1st, there are 1,233 confirmed COVID-19 cases in San Mateo County, and 51 confirmed deaths. But these numbers don't tell the whole picture. Until we have widespread community testing, we can't really know how many people are (or have been) infected -- so it's very difficult for Health Officers to make fully informed decisions. Once our County receives these highly anticipated test kits from the State and Federal Government, our County is ready and has the capacity to test tens of thousands of residents as soon as possible.
I am so impressed with the level of coordination and communication at all levels of our regional government. City Councilmembers, City Managers, City Attorneys, School Officials, and our counterparts at the County, State, and Federal Level receive joint briefings and collaborate during standing meetings 3x weekly. I hope you've seen the fruits of this teamwork in our communications via the City's e-News, website, social media -- and when you reach out to us personally via phone or email with questions and concerns. I also want you to know that our County is studying best practices around the world to make sure we learn from others' experiences, both good and bad, as we re-open our economy.
Recently, our City Council allocated $1 million
in COVID-19 aid ($500k for Burlingame small businesses grants, and $500k to help Burlingame's most vulnerable residents.) Our staff has cross-trained and re-directed resources to respond to the pandemic, like monitoring safety and social distancing in our parks, or helping local businesses. For example, one staff team outreached to 340 Burlingame businesses to inform them about local small business COVID-19 grants available from San Mateo County Strong Fund, Burlingame Back in Business Program, Facebook, Salesforce,
and the Federal government. In addition to keeping essential City services going, we are working hard to support our community in new, creative ways. Our professional City staff is doing a tremendous job and they deserve our appreciation.
Stay healthy and please stay home whenever possible. Although County Health Officials have eased some restrictions, that doesn't mean life is back to normal. We also must comply with State guidelines, which can sometimes be more restrictive. And the Shelter-in-Place rules apply to everyone -- short term pain, for long-term gain. That said, I have personally asked the County to update their Shelter-In-Place FAQ
to include "reasons why" behind some of the more controversial restrictions, which I hope will help keep everyone rowing in the same direction.
We will get through this! Let’s continue to be kind, express gratitude, check-in on vulnerable neighbors, exercise, and practice self-care. Let's also remember to thank "essential workers" in our neighborhood who continue to serve us on the front lines, often at great personal risk. We salute and appreciate you.
Hang in there, Burlingame. We're headed in the right direction and we are are all in this together!
Warmest regards always,