Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Last updated April 10, 2020




Latest San Mateo County Health Officer News 

The leading agency focused on public health and responding to the COVID-19 virus is the San Mateo County Health Department. As of Friday, April 10, there are 638 confirmed coronavirus cases San Mateo County and 21 deaths.
Residents with non-medical, non-emergency questions about the coronavirus can call 2-1-1. This is a confidential service available in 180 languages.

To read the latest news, please visit 

March 23, 2020: As I write this, I am both immensely grateful and exceedingly disappointed. We are in a grave crisis. I believe the virus is growing at an exponential rate in our county. Unless everyone does their part and follows the County’s Shelter-in-Place order and the Governor’s Safer at Home order, we will be facing an Italy-type catastrophe very soon. These orders are not recommendations, they are rules to be followed. My disappointment stems from the fact that many people just aren’t taking this seriously and going about their business as if nothing has changed. Our world has profoundly changed in an instant. It is now up to you all, the community, to decide what you want your future to be. If you decide you want to do your own thing and follow your own rules, you disrespect us all. You spit in our face, and you will contribute to the death toll that will follow. For those of you who say: “nobody tells me what to do,” now is a time to make an exception. You can go back to being ornery in the future.

March 16, 2020: Seven health officers within six Bay Area counties, including San Mateo County, are taking a bold, unified step to slow the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and preserve critical health care capacity across the region. On March 16, the Public health officers of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties announced, with the City of Berkeley, a legal order directing their respective residents to shelter at home for three weeks beginning March 17. The order limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most essential needs. The guidance comes after substantial input from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and best practices from other health officials around the world.  Read the press release here You can read the full order here. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.

March 14, 2020: San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow has issued an update regarding the legal order prohibiting mass gatherings. Public and private gatherings of groups of 50 or more persons are now prohibited in San Mateo County. Read the press release here 

March 13, 2020: San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow has issued a School Operations Modification Order that will take effect on Monday, March 16, 2020, and remain in force through Friday, April 3, 2020, unless amended by the County or State health officer.  Read the press release here


City of South San Francisco Closures/Postponements

The City has already taken steps to prevent the transmission of the Coronavirus by cancelling numerous community events. Our goal is to reduce social interactions and the opportunity for community transmission of the virus. Your personal actions and behaviors matter. Please follow county, state, and federal advice about increased personal hygiene, reducing in-person contact, and limiting non-essential travel. If you are a host or are a member of a social gathering, please consider delaying or cancelling events. 


What the City is doing:

  • Increased cleaning schedule and sanitation efforts at all City facilities
  • Promoting hand washing and good hygiene in City facilities, restrooms, and counters
  • Instituted measures to reduce the social contact and minimize the possibility of exposure
  • Cancelling or postponing all large, non-essential indoor events, suspending library and parks and recreation programming, and cancelling events typically attended by those 50+ per the San Mateo County Health order
  • Rescheduling non-essential meetings
  • Reviewing our Continuity of Government Operations Plan to assess and identify current and future needs
  • Holding daily planning calls for staff to provide updates and share best practices and concerns moving forward



Until May 3, library services will be delivered online only.  

Library users will need to visit to access services, call us at (650) 829-3860, or email us at

We will not be accepting returns of books or DVDs at the library until further notice.  No late fines will be assessed during this period.

As we all practice social distancing during this outbreak, we encourage you to take advantage of the many online resources offered by your public library:


Community Learning Center after school homework program and classes are closed. 


Effective immediately (unless otherwise noted) through May 3
 *All playgrounds, the dog park, picnic areas, bocce courts, and park restrooms are closed. The public can still walk in the parks, but amenities are closed.
Cancelled: All drop-in programs, classes, and SSF Aquatics Club practices. Orange Pool is closed to the public. 

Open: None
  • Spring Camp, March 23 - 27, at the Joseph A. Fernekes Building
  • Police Youth Academy, starting March 17
  • Full of Fun Night, March 25
In response to the San Mateo County Health Department's recent guidance to cancel or postpone large events in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 within the County, and the South San Francisco Unified School District's school dismissals, the City will be closing the following childcare programs effective March 16 - May 1 in an effort to promote the social distancing needed to help slow the spread of COVID-19:
    • Little Steps Preschool
    • Siebecker Preschool
    • Westborough Preschool
    • Buri Buri Before & After School Program
    • Monte Verde Before & After School Program
    • Ponderosa  Before & After School Program
    • Spruce Before & After School Program
    • Los Cerritos REAL program
    • Martin REAL Program
Cancelled: All drop-in programs and classes

Open: None

Cancelled: All rentals of city facilities, picnic areas, and sports fields are cancelled.

Open: None
Seniors (Magnolia Center is Closed)
  • 23rd Annual Senior Health & Fitness Fair, March 13
  • St. Patrick's Day Lunch at Magnolia Center, March 26
  • Adult Day Care (2nd Floor at Magnolia Center)
  • All drop-in programs at the Magnolia Center and the Municipal Services Building
  • Senior Volunteer Luncheon, April 17 - Postponed
  • Magnolia Center 
Open: None
  • Adult Sports
  • Middle School Sports
  • RAPP Basketball
  • Open Gym and Fitness Room at Terrabay Gymnasium and Recreation Center
  • Terrabay Gymnasium and Recreation Center will be closed to the public.
Open: None


    City Closures/Suspensions
    • Passport and Notary services. We expect to resume services on May 3, 2020. Please visit the U.S. Department of State - Passport Acceptance Facility Search Page to find the nearest location to apply for a passport. Should you require an emergency passport appointment, please contact the U.S. Department of State at 1-877-487-2778. 

    The City's event calendar is being updated to reflect cancelled or postponed events as needed.  Please refer to the City calendar on our website, 



    South San Francisco Unified School District

    Out of an abundance of caution and for the safety and well-being of our community, the school district has decided to dismiss its students from school beginning Monday, March 16th through Friday, May 1st, with continuity of education and operations. This means that all school-related activities will be cancelled, including classes, athletics, arts, clubs, and planned field trips. Students are not to be on campus during this time, and staff will practice safe hygiene/health protocols and social distancing while on campus. During the closure, they will continue to work with the health departments and will gain a better understanding of the situation. They will also use the time to do a thorough and deep cleaning of their campuses.
    During this period of closure, all student absences are considered to be excused. Please refer to the SSFUSD website for more information.


    The South San Francisco Unified School District Nutrition Services is providing an opportunity for families to drive through and pick up meals for the children in their families, at the designated sites listed below. Meals will be provided at no cost to all children through age 18. Children must be present in order for meals to be provided. The following schools will provide a lunch for the day and a breakfast for the following day. Meals will be served between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, March 16th - May 1 (including Spring Break). Meals will be provided in the parking lot or at the entrance of each participating school. Please stay in your car and meals will be distributed, based on the number of children in the car. If you cannot drive to the site you can walk by. Meals will be offered on a "first come, first served" basis and the number of meals will be adjusted based on the number of children needing food.

    School Meal Pick Up Sites:

    • El Camino High School
    • South San Francisco High School
    • Parkway Middle School
    • Westborough Middle School

    This program will be solely for the pick up of meals and meals cannot be consumed on site.




    The Transit District has updated information on the SamTrans and Caltrain pages. Note that the most recent update includes service reductions that are necessary in response to ridership losses and school closures.

    These service changes are happening on a condensed timeframe without the normal amount of time for communications with riders and the community.


    SF Bay Ferry Service Reduction press release - March 16, 2020

    The Governor issued a proclamation of a state of emergency to deal with the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 on March 4, 2020. Price gouging, as defined in Penal Code section 396, is illegal after such a proclamation or declaration. Specifically, it is a crime to sell items such as consumer food items or goods, and emergency or medical supplies, during the state of emergency or local emergency for a price that is more than 10% greater than the price charged by the seller of those goods or services immediately before the proclamation or declaration of the emergency. A violation of section 396 is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $10,000.


    A person who would like to report an incident of price gouging in San Mateo County should contact the District Attorney's Office by calling (650) 363-4403 


    To reduce the spread of COVID-19, all of us, especially vulnerable populations, have been encouraged to practice social distancing by the Centers for Disease Control, San Mateo County Health Department, and other authorities.
    In addition to social distancing, health officials have recommended a number of steps for individuals and households at this time, many of which can be found at the website of Centers for Disease Control:

    • Wash hands frequently
    • Stay home when ill
    • Cover coughs and sneezes
    • Avoid touching your face
    • Prepare for supply chain disruptions by stocking up on medications and other critically needed items


    Letters from the South San Francisco Mayor

    April 10, 2020 Letter from the Mayor: Residential and Commercial Protections 

    April 3, 2020 Letter from the Mayor: Updated Shelter In Place Health Order

    Public Service Announcement from the Mayor and City Manager, March 27, 2020

    March 27, 2020 Letter from the Mayor: City and County Updates

    March 20, 2020 Letter from the Mayor: State Orders Stay at Home

    March 17, 2020 Letter from the Mayor: Please show compassion and reason during this time

    March 13, 2020 Letter from the Mayor: After school/preschool program cancellations, price gouging

    March 11, 2020 Letter from the Mayor: City Cancellations and/or Postponements | COVID-19 Update

    March 6, 2020 Letter from the Mayor: City Cancels Upcoming Non-Essential Gatherings

    March 5, 2020 Press Release: San Mateo County Opens Public Call Center

    March 4, 2020 Letter from the Mayor of South San Francisco


    Background on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    A novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness that originated near the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This outbreak began in early December 2019 and continues to expand in scope and magnitude. Chinese health officials have reported thousands of cases in the city of Wuhan and severe illness has been reported, including deaths. Cases have also been identified in travelers from Wuhan to other parts of China and the world, including the United States. Person-to-person transmittal is occurring though it’s unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people at this time. Signs and symptoms of this illness include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

    What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

    The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of 6 people who get COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

    What steps should I be taking to protect myself?

    There are everyday preventive measures to reduce the spread of germs and help reduce the risk of transmission of respiratory infections such as this Coronavirus. The following are basic infection prevention measures:

    • Avoiding close contact with people suffering from respiratory infections;
    • Washing your hands frequently, especially after direct contact with ill people or their belongings and environment;
    • Alcohol hand sanitizers are also effective;
    • Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
    • Stay home when you are sick (and keep sick children home from school);
    • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. If you use a tissue, wash your hands afterwards;
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces;
    • People with symptoms of respiratory infection should stay home and practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or cough/sneeze into elbow, and wash hands); and
    • Avoiding unnecessary travel to the affected areas, if possible.


    Reliable Resources

    County officials recommend residents rely on official channels from news and information about COVID-19 and efforts to contain its spread.


    Residents should check with the South San Francisco Unified School District about schools, not social media posts from unaccredited websites, for instance. The following provide reliable and trusted information:


    San Mateo County Health
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    South San Francisco Unified School District


    World Health Organization

    Core Services Agencies



    Drinking Water is Safe

    A message from CalWater: The drinking water CalWater supplies is safe and can be used as normal.  The U.S. Environmental Protection AgencyCalifornia State Water Resources Control Board, and World Health Organization have all explained that there is no evidence that COVID-19 is or can be transmitted through drinking water.  Furthermore, the rigorous water testing and treatment protocols we employ on a daily basis safeguard our customers’ drinking water.  Customers can use their drinking water with the confidence that it continues to meet all state and federal drinking water standards.

    Water Service Continues Uninterrupted

    We remain fully operational and our water systems are running normally.  Everyone at California Water Service (Cal Water) recognizes the special and critical role we play in these extremely difficult circumstances.  Because of the essential nature of our mission, the vast majority of our team is on the ground helping to ensure that our water systems continue to operate safely and reliable.  We are employing sound social distancing, personal hygiene, and workplace sanitation practices to keep everyone healthy.  We are also prepared to mobilize resources from across the state should the need arise.  In short, we will do what is needed to keep water flowing through our systems.

    Recognizing that having a safe, reliable supply of clean water for hand washing and surface cleaning is a critical tool in the battle against COVID-19, we have suspended water service shutoffs for customers who are unable to make payments.  We have also restored service for customers with delinquent accounts.  We want to do everything we can to keep our customers and communities healthy and safe.

    We are augmenting our phone and digital resources to ensure we are able to assist customers with their water service needs while our local Customer Centers are closed to walk-in traffic.  Customers can and are encouraged to pay their bills online, and they can quickly and easily set up their profile on our website.