December 17, 2020
  • Joint Information Center logo

    Redwood City – The County of San Mateo continues to work to protect public health and safety in response to the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19.

    The County of San Mateo’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains open to coordinate countywide response and communications in response to the situation. The EOC’s Joint Information Center will provide status reports every Tuesday and Thursday until further notice. Today’s report:

    Regional Stay at Home Order Begins Tonight

    Beginning Dec. 17 at 11:59 p.m. San Mateo and 10 other Bay Area counties will be under the Regional Stay at Home Order announced yesterday by the state of California as a result of ICU bed availability in the region falling to below 15 percent, a trigger threshold.

    The order will remain in place for a minimum of three weeks – through Jan. 7 — and may be lifted if the region’s projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15 percent.

    While the order is in place residents should remain home and close to home when obtaining essential services like going to the doctor, buying groceries and picking up takeout food. Outdoor activities like walking, hiking, cycling and outdoor religious ceremonies are permitted.

    Anytime you leave your home remember to wear a face covering and keep 6 feet apart from those not in your household. Doing so will keep loved ones safe and help slow the spread of COVID-19.

    The order prohibits private gatherings of any size, except for outdoor church services and political demonstrations. Restaurants must stop offering in-person dining and can offer only take-out and delivery.

    Read Dec. 16 news release and get answers to frequently asked questions about the Stay at Home Order here.

    Special Cargo, Ultra-Cold Freezers for Vaccine Storage Arrive

    Good news arrived Wednesday, Dec. 16 on a loading dock at the San Mateo Medical Center in the form of two ultra-cold freezers wrapped in green like holiday presents.

    The freezers will store COVID-19 vaccine before it gets into the arms of health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic.

    The Pfizer vaccine requires ultra-cold storage. The new freezers can store vaccine at the required minus 70 degrees Celsius, colder than winter at the South Pole. 

    Each new 750-pound freezer, along with existing ultra-cold storage, will serve as a depot for a share of the initial 5,850 doses of the Pfizer vaccine allocated to San Mateo County medical facilities.

    Hospitals across the county are now receiving doses of the vaccine, and San Mateo County Health expects the county will receive thousands more of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines combined by the end of the month.

    Learn about County Health's Vaccination Program and the priorities for vaccination.

    Stay at Home Order’s Impact on Schools

    The regional stay-at-home restrictions that go into effect Dec. 17 will not impact the operation of schools. According to the order, “schools that have previously reopened for in-person instruction may remain open, and schools may continue to bring students back for in-person instruction under the Elementary School Waiver Process or Cohorting Guidance.”

    Additionally, according to the governor, child care and pre-K programs are allowed to continue serving children and families, as long as the appropriate preventative measures, including face coverings and physical distancing, are followed.

    San Mateo County’s recent move to the Purple Tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy does impact the timeline for the launch of in-person instruction for some schools. As a condition of the Purple Tier status, schools that had not yet started returning students to campus are now required to apply for a waiver for students in grades TK-6 or wait until the county is in the Red Tier.

    Learn more about San Mateo County’s Office of Education’s plan to safely return students to in-person learning here

    County Manager’s Media Briefing on YouTube

    The Dec. 16, 2020, media briefing on the County of San Mateo’s response to COVID-19 hosted by San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy can be viewed at

    Subscribe to the County’s YouTube channel at

    COVID-19 Testing Available in County for Adults and Children

    Safe, easy and no-cost testing is widely available at County-sponsored locations for everyone who works or lives in San Mateo County — regardless of symptoms.

    To get a COVID-19 test, San Mateo County residents should first contact their health care provider.

    If you cannot get a timely test through your health care provider, select from the testing options listed at for a no-cost (free) COVID-19 test at a County-sponsored location.

    Testing for Children and Adults

    Testing for children ages 5 to 17 as well as adults is available at the San Mateo County Event Center and at the Jefferson Union High School District office in Daly City. Testing is available at no cost to you, but insurance may be billed. Learn more about testing dates and the process here and register for an appointment.

    Testing for Adults

    Appointments are available Tuesdays through Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the San Mateo County Event Center. Make an appointment

    Testing for COVID-19 is also available at mobile operations that rotate among five communities Monday through Friday for everyone 18 and older who lives or works in San Mateo County

    See the schedule below for mobile operation locations, Dec. 18 – Dec. 24 , and make an appointment at least seven days in advance. Testing will not be available on Dec. 25.

    North Fair Oaks, Dec. 18, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

    Stanford Parking Lot

    2685 Bay Road

    San Bruno, Dec. 21 & 22, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    975 Sneath Lane

    Half Moon Bay, Dec. 23, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

    Our Lady of the Pillar

    565 Kelly Avenue

    East Palo Alto, Dec.24, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

    2160 Euclid Avenue

    Remember: If you don't have access to the internet, an on-site volunteer may be able to help you register and get tested. The County STRONGLY recommends advance registration as you cannot be guaranteed a test otherwise.

    San Mateo County COVID-19 Case Count

    San Mateo County Health has updated the number of positive cases to 19,645 as of Dec 16, 2020.

    County Health provides detailed information on cases by age group and date and deaths by age group. Learn more at

    Call Center

    Residents with non-medical, non-emergency questions about the coronavirus can call 211 or 800-273-6222 at any time, day or night. Callers from landlines and cellular telephones located within San Mateo County are connected with a trained service professional from 211, a confidential service available in 180 languages.

    help stop the spread of covid 19