The COVID-19 pandemic created a health and economic crisis of enormous scale and human impact. In its wake, businesses and non-essential services have sustained significant financial damage. The same social and economic determinants that have driven health disparities for generations – such as access to food, housing, education and health services – have exacerbated inequitable access to prevention, testing, and treatment resources. And our city’s homeless population is particularly vulnerable to the challenges of this virus.
Our emergency response to this crisis requires that not only do we work to lay the groundwork for lasting institutional equitable reform, but prioritize the communities and neighborhoods most affected by this virus. The tragedy and turmoil wrought by this pandemic cannot be overstated, so we will work tirelessly to help those affected recover and emerge stronger and more resilient.
So far, over the course of this pandemic, working with Health Services and Fire Departments to provide testing and treatment in medically underserved areas, and St. John’s Well Child and Family Center to dispatch mobile testing units to churches, grocery stores, community organizations, skilled nursing facilities, and other locations, resources have been distributed to areas of critical need. More than 180,000 masks have been donated to essential workers – most of which delivered personally to healthcare workers, firefighters, grocery store clerks, public defenders, and street outreach teams helping the homeless.