Category Archives: Crisis Response

Happy AAPI Heritage Month: Updates from the Pacific Islander Initiative

PII Co-Chair, Brittany Afu

This year, BHRS ODE’s Health Equity Initiative, Pacific Islander Initiative (PII) welcomes a returning co-chair, Brittany Afu, who is currently working with long-time partner, Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center. Luci Latu and Brittany have been focusing on rebuilding past partnerships and cultivating new ones to strengthen PII’s membership base.

Some of the initiative’s focus this year has been on COVID outreach – raising awareness around COVID testing, vaccines and linking families to COVID relief programs and services. Other focuses include outreaching for partner events and community classes, sharing information about services and completing community presentations to raise awareness on critical issues affecting the PII community.

Recently, the PII co-chairs presented to a class at UC Berkeley discussing Pacific Islander health disparities and how the initiative and other partnering agencies are developing strategies to address community needs. It is an ongoing effort, and we hope to make community impacts by filling future Parent Project courses, hosting Mental Health First Aid trainings and getting more families connected to needed care.

Blog written by Brittany Afu
Co-Chair of Pacific Islander Initiative of San Mateo County, 


To learn more about Pacific Islander Initiative and other health equity initiatives, visit SMCHealth.org/HEI.

The Health Equity Initiatives are funded through BHRS’ Office of Diversity and Equity. For more information click here.

To learn more about Pacific Islander Initiative, visit smchealth.org/pacific-islander-initiative.

Coronavirus: Older Adults and Prevention

Hotline for California Seniors to Stay Connected Amid COVID-19

Governor Gavin Newsom announced the “Stay Home. Save Lives. Check In.” campaign to combat social isolation and food insecurity among seniors vulnerable to COVID-19 in California.

The Governor also announced the creation of a statewide hotline — 833-544-2374 — in coordination with the non-profit local 2-1-1 systems, so that Californians have a one-stop shop to answer their questions and get assistance during this crisis. The 2-1-1 system is able to help older Californians access grocery and medication delivery while staying at home.

Read more here.

COVID-19: County of San Mateo Data as of 3/31/2020

  • Due to the current testing capacity, the number of cases detected through testing represents only a small portion of the total number of likely cases in the County. This means the number of cases by age group is skewed toward those who are high risk and tested.
  • COVID-19 data are reported as timely, accurately, and completely as we have available. Data are updated as we receive information that is more complete and will change over time as we learn more. Data reported as of 3/31.
  • Cases are lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to San Mateo County Public Health by providers, commercial laboratories, and results reported through the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange (CalREDIE).

For more information and up to date news on COVID-19 in San Mateo County, visit www.smchealth.org/coronavirus.

Extended Shelter-in-Place Order in Effect

The Health Officer of San Mateo County has issued a new, generally more restrictive Shelter-In-Place Order effective at 11:59 pm on March 31, 2020. You can find the order here.

This Order is in effect until May 3, 2020 and with it comes new regulations for restaurants and grocery stores still in operation. Please be patient as the FAQs are updated to reflect the new Order.

For more info and answers to general questions, click here.

Coping Strategies for COVID-19

BHRS Director Scott Gilman discusses coping strategies in this video. Please see the downloadable flyer below the video and share with those that may find this helpful! 

Click on your preferred language to view the PDF:
English | Spanish | Chinese (simplified) | Chinese (traditional) | Tagalog | Russian

County Health Officer’s March 23 Statement: COVID-19

See the San Mateo County Health Officer, Dr. Scott Morrow’s most recent statement on COVID-19 posted on March 23, which provides a better understanding of where we find ourselves today, and the critical need for everyone to shelter in place.

You can also read his previous statements from 3/16/20, 3/10/20, 3/5/20, and 2/27/20 here: https://www.smchealth.org/post/health-officer-statements.

Get the latest San Mateo County Health COVID-19 news and information at www.smchealth.org/coronavirus.

Protecting Yourself from COVID-19

Information and Updates on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

San Mateo County Health is working closely with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to respond to novel coronavirus and its potential impacts on the Bay Area. Visit https://www.smchealth.org/coronavirus for information and updates.

Call 2-1-1 for Non-Medical, Non-Emergency Questions About Coronavirus.

2-1-1 is a confidential service accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week in 180 languages. Callers can get answers to questions about how residents, schools and businesses should prepare for COVID-19, as well as ways to prevent the spread of the virus.

An Inside Look: StarVista Crisis Center Hotline

One of San Mateo County’s most used suicide prevention resources, and part of  StarVista’s Crisis Intervention & Suicide Prevention Center, is a suicide crisis hotline that operates 24-hour-a-day, 365 days per year.

Call center staff field calls from county residents in emotional distress, dealing with depression, experiencing feelings of being overwhelmed, anxiety and those having thoughts of suicide. 

More than 11,000 calls were answered last year alone, an amazing accomplishment considering that the call center is comprised of a single desk staffed by just one person per shift who juggles multiple call.

In the most recent issue of the BHRS newsletter, “Wellness Matters”, a call center counselor shares an inside look into the crisis counseling experience as well as his own story of recovery. You can find that article by clicking here.

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