Wednesday marked the last COVID-19 media briefing with San Mateo County officials, as the county looks towards reopening and recovery.
For more than a year, County Manager Mike Callagy provided COVID-19 updates via Zoom for members of the media.
In Wednesday’s briefing, Callagy said that vaccine supply is still sufficient to meet demand, which would allow the county to open vaccinations to non-residents soon.
“We will take down any barriers of residency or work requirements in the near future so that anyone, no matter where you’re from, if you’re visiting here and you want a vaccine, we will get that to you if you show up at one of our clinics,” Callagy said.
As of Tuesday, 85 percent of county residents 16 and older have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In total, almost one million — 983,357 — vaccine doses have been administered in the county.
After the last round of second-dose vaccinations at the San Francisco International Airport mass vaccination site, there will be no more mass vaccination events in the county. Vaccinations will continue at community clinics, pharmacies and possibly pop-up events.
Callagy also highlighted some of the county’s milestones in the past year, such as having zero new COVID cases reported on June 2.
Since the start of the pandemic, the county has seen 42,176 COVID-19 cases and 579 deaths, with six deaths occurring in the last two weeks.
Callagy also reflected on some of the county’s hurdles of the past year, from quarantining passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship at a hotel in San Carlos to the shelter-in-place order that lasted for months.
As the county, and the rest of the world, grappled with business closures, remote learning and a shortage of personal protective equipment or PPE, multiple groups and people stepped up to help manage the virus.
One of these were the staff and leaders at the San Mateo County Event Center, which became a spot to set up extra hospital beds, free COVID testing and, eventually, mass vaccinations.
“I just can’t begin to explain what an incredible resource that Event Center is,” Callagy said.
While Callagy recognized all the efforts of the past year, he acknowledged that the pandemic is far from over.
“I don’t want to give anyone the impression that we’re at the finish line and we’re saying that COVID is over. We’ve got a long ways to go but we are beating this and we are recovering at this point in time,” Callagy said.
And while he does not know what the future holds, he hopes the county is well on its way to never having another COVID-19 death.
San Mateo County plans to fully align with the state’s reopening plan, Callagy said.
For businesses that may want to have stricter restrictions, Callagy said the county will be following the state’s guidelines and not making any separate orders.
“It’s going to be totally up to the individual owners as to what they do in regard to the customers that come into their businesses. We will not get involved in that,” Callagy said.
Moreover, he thanked the community organizations who collaborated with the county to provide resources and programs to help those in need.
For example, the Great Plates program served over 2.5 million free meals to over 4,600 seniors in the county.
Funding for the program ends July 7 but Callagy said the county will “pick it up through the end of the month” and ensure that people with food insecurity will continue to have their needs met.
More information on COVID-19 in San Mateo County is available at https://www.smchealth.org/coronavirus.
San Mateo County’s COVID-19 recovery efforts are listed at https://smcrecovery.org/.
This article was originally published by The Almanac.