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SMC Health COVID-19 Plan & Metrics

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Plan for Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in San Mateo County and Reducing Disparate Impacts: Summary and Selected Metrics

Introduction/Background

Deep social and economic factors cause disparities that have been exacerbated by pandemic and most impact low-income and communities of color. Substantial County-led efforts have responded to these increased disparities by expanding investments in housing, rental assistance, financial relief, childcare, food insecurity, Wi-Fi access, and economic recovery and the SMC Recovery Initiative has identified the need for even more. There will have to be sustained long-term focus to achieve meaningful impact. The metrics that most reveal the COVID-19 disparities are the percentage of positive cases by race/ethnicity. In California and San Mateo County, Latina/o/x cases are overrepresented (61% of cases in CA compared to 39% of population; 51% of cases in SMC compared to 24% of population), though not in deaths (20% of deaths in SMC). There are smaller disparities in other populations but given significant unknown data we are targeting this plan to all low-income and communities of color. It is important to understand what is causing a higher infection rate in some communities than others and respond accordingly with a tailored, culturally competent approach. We know that in the Bay Area, 66% of essential frontline workers are people of color, and 43% are immigrants. In a recent study, 30% of Latina/o/x and 27% of Black Californians reported working in essential high-risk sectors outside the home where regular contact with people is usual compared to lower percentages of other groups.

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Monthly Metrics Update: Plan for Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in San Mateo County and Reducing Disparate Impacts

Two strategies address immediate drivers of spread

While the roots of the disparate impacts of the COVID-19 are deep, the focus of this Plan is on two strategies: Strategy 1: Expand and improve communication to encourage adoption of protective behaviors and build trust and engagement in Public Health protection efforts and, Strategy 2: Enhance culturally competent mitigation strategies for preventing spread (testing, contact tracing, isolation support, healthcare and supportive services) and related actions we can take to address the immediate drivers of the spread in at-risk communities: (1) Continued focus on adoption of the protective behaviors that most prevent the spread (face coverings, hygiene, social distance, no gatherings); (2) Lack of trust in government and engagement in Public Health protection efforts (3) Lack of testing among certain communities with high positivity rates; and (4) Inability for frontline and low wage earners to safely isolate due to economic impacts.

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