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  • Writer's pictureChris Rasmussen

Covid-19 Update

Updated: Aug 8, 2020

Friday March 20, 2020

Redwood City- 8:30 pm

Information Sources:

Federal COVID-19 Task Force held a Press Conference this morning at the White House. Additionally, information was obtained from the County of San Mateo, City of Redwood City, Cal-OES, the IRS and the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County.

Here’s what we know:

531 Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Bay Area

100 Confirmed Cases in San Mateo County

76 Confirmed Cases in San Francisco County

10 Bay Area Deaths

Governor Gavin Newsom “Statewide Stay at Home Order” remains in effect.

Comprehensive information can be found at

Clarification of terms:

Some officials are using the term “Shelter In Place” to describe the Statewide Order that went into effect yesterday. As many of you may know, this term has been historically reserved for use in “Active Shooter” situations. With this in mind, we will use the term “Shelter At Home” when referring to Governor’s Order.

Outdoor Activities

Outside of essential employment or to obtain an essential goods and services (Grocery Dr Vet Pharmacy) Outdoor activities, like walking you dog, running, riding your bike, are fine. As long as you stay at least 6 feet away from anyone who does not live in your household.

What is an Essential Employee?

Health Care Providers and Pharmacy Employees Public Safety,Police, Fire, Paramedics, CHP, Prison Guards, Media Public Transportation, Cal-Trans,-Cal-Train Utilities & Public Works (water, sewer, gas, sanitation, internet/cable) Grocery, Hardware, Postal and Bank Employees. Restaurant employees: Take Out or Delivery Only and Volunteers providing essential goods/service to others. (Grocery Shopping Meals on Wheels, etc.)

Information Delay on Testing:

Please note that the official number of COVID-19 cases have a current lag time of 3-4 days. The true numbers for people testing positive today, will not be reported until Monday or Tuesday. Try not to be alarmed when the numbers are released. The numbers are expected to increase dramatically. Up until this past week, testing was extremely limited, this week testing was increased. As more State Labs come online, turn around time will be reduced and case numbers will be reported more quickly.

US Census Forms

US Census forms are beginning to arrive. Please make sure to go online and complete your form. You may have seen the Redwood City Fire Departments Commercial that is currently running on MSNBC. Census numbers are used to determine everything from essential funding, to Federal State County & even local elections. Census records are kept confidential for 70 years. The US Census records for 1950 will be released soon. For anyone who has researched your family history, you know how priceless these records are. Please complete your Census form. Your grandchildren will thank you for it.

Free Local Online News Source

The San Mateo Daily Journal has opened up access to their online news, free of charge during this pandemic. I would like to thank the San Mateo Daily Journal for being an outstanding community partner during these difficult times.

Redwood City Parks are closed.

Play dates, the use of play equipment at schools/parks is prohibited under the current order. The COVID-19 virus can “live” on some surfaces for up to 48 hours. For more information on Redwood City parks go to:

Public Transportation:

Public Transportation is still in service. BART ridership is down more then 90%. Bart service will end each night at 9pm daily. Until further notice. For more information on Bart go to: Sam Trans ridership is down 19% however, schedules remain unchanged as of today. For more information on Sam Trans go to:

Benefits & Resources

Do you rent? Do you need Rental Assistance?

In response to the tremendous impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, rental assistance has been made available for the months of March & April by the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County. You can apply for that assistance by calling and leaving a message at (650) 517-8939.

State Unemployment & Disability Benefits

State Unemployment and/or Disability benefits are roughly 67% of an employees wages. The 7 day waiting period and a few additional requirements are being waived during this pandemic. Applications are being accepted online ONLY. For more information on Unemployment and/or Disability benefits please go to:


DMV is no longer allowing “Walk-In” customers. Only customers with an appointment will be allowed in the building. Law enforcement agencies throughout the State have been asked to relax enforcement on: Expired Vehicle Registration and Driver’s Licenses for the next 60 days. For more information go to:

Late Fees & Interest & Payment Waivers

The list of service providers who are waving late fees and suspending service interruptions, continues to grow. Banks and credit cards are also working with customers to reduce interest, suspend late fees and offering temporary alternative payment options. Customers who are experiencing a financial hardship due to the Corona Virus, are strongly encouraged to contact your bank and/or credit card to inquire what options are available during this pandemic.

Some of these companies are


Comcast (Plus: New customers 60 days free Internet service. Unlimited data for existing customers )






American Express (interest & late fees)



Wells Fargo


US Bank

Also reported last night, Federal Governments Stimulus package is expected to include Mortgage Abeyance provisions to assist with mortgages for both landlords and homeowners. Stay tuned for more information.

Help for Small Businesses

Small Business Loans will be offered for up to 2 million dollars at an interest rate of 3.75% with 30 year terms The interest rate non-profits is 2.75%. For more information please go to: Additionally, the State of California offers the “Cal-Cap Program” for small business owners. For more information please go to:

Local small businesses will be hit particularly hard during this pandemic. Residents are encouraged to support local restaurants offering take-out service. Take out service is considered safe, if all protocols are being followed.

NEW Neighborhood Services and Tools

As I mentioned last night, two new services are being offered in our neighborhood.

“Covid Assist”

Will assist vulnerable residents who are unable to leave their homes purchase essential items such as food, medicine, sanitary products, etc. Vulnerable populations are defined as anyone above the age of 50 or anyone with underlying health conditions (heart, lung, kidney, diabetes or is immune deficient). “Covid Assist” is a partnership with VOCA and Peninsula Covenant Church. Both are located here in Redwood City.If you or someone you know could benefit from this service please or would like to volunteer with this service, please go to:


Nextdoor has introduced two new features, Help Maps and Groups, to give people a an opportunity to support one another during this pandemic. The Help Map allows you to coordinate aid between those in need, like the elderly and at-risk, and those willing to offer some form of assistance. The Help Maps works by the services you’re willing to provide. You will need to update your Nextdoor App to access these new features. The new “Help Map” option is located under the “More” menu. From here, you can choose to either view the map or click a button to offer help to your neighbors. Errands or dropping off supplies, for example. Members who add themselves to the map can then detail the errands they could run or the other sort of assistance they can provide — like offering a daily check-in phone call, delivering groceries or fetching prescriptions. Though most stores have begun offering special early morning hours for those at the most risk for COVID-19, limiting exposure by staying at home is the best option. The Help Map, therefore, isn’t just handy, it could potentially save a life. For more information, login to your NextDoor account at:

Redwood City Mayor Diane Howard: Issues COVID-19 Community Address Video

The video reminds residents that the upcoming March 23,2020 Council Meeting will be focused on taking additional steps to help residents who are required to “Shelter At Home”.limited to Mayor Diane Howard’s video can be found here:

The agenda for Monday nights Council Meeting can be found here:

Property Taxes

I learned today that the responsibility for extending the due date for the 2nd Installment of Property Taxes rests solely with the County where the property is located. As of right now property taxes in San Mateo County will remain due on April 10, 2020. The likelihood of this date being extended, is slim, as local schools districts, agencies etc. rely upon property tax revenue, to maintain operations.

State & Federal Income Tax Deadlines Extended until July 15, 2020

The California Franchise Tax Board has extended the due dates for the filing and payment of State income Taxes. The due date for tax payers filing an extension is now Oct 15, 2020 . For more information on State Income taxes go to:

The US Treasury has extended the filing and payment date for Federal Income Tax. The news deadline is July 15, 2020. For more information go to:

Income Tax Refunds for Federal & State Income Tax payers who anticipate receiving an Income Tax Refund are encouraged to file their returns ASAP. Tax Refunds will continue to be processed as usual. You don’t have to leave your house to file your taxes! The IRS offers free filing online at: Additional Tax Preparation Software programs are available at Amazon H&R Block, Turbo Tax and can be immediately downloaded.

That’s all for tonight. If something unfolds over the weekend, I will send out briefing. Otherwise, the next Daily Briefing will be on Monday night. This has been a pretty stressful week. I hope you and your family have the opportunity to relax a bit this weekend. While there is much to be concerned about, there is also much to grateful for.

Until next time, please be kind, be considerate, and, if possible, be of service.

Chris Rasmussen

Please see the following pages for links to additional information and resources.

COVID-19: Additional Information & Resources Links

US Government Response to Corona Virus

Governor Gavin Newsom “Statewide Stay at Home Order”

San Mateo County Website

Questions re: “Shelter in Place Orders”


Call 211 For non-emergency, non-medical questions open 24/7

San Mateo County Health Department

Federal Government: Centers of Disease Control

The City of Redwood City: Video Mayor Howard’s COVID-19 Community Address

The City of Redwood City: Public Safety Announcement

City of Redwood City: Meeting Agenda for March 23, 2020 City Council

State of California DMV

California Franchise Tax Board

Internal Revenue Service

BART: Bay Area Rapid Transit

San Mateo Daily Journal: FREE Online News


Financial Help & Resources

What is being to help you and your family during this pandemic?

Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County: Rental Assistance

State of California Unemployment & Disability Benefits

Small Business Administration

Cal-Cap Program for Small Business:

Verily-Life Sciences-Covid-19 Testing Pilot Project

Second Harvest Food Bank

Fair Oaks Community Center

Redwood City Service Hours

RCEF COVID-19 Family Relief Fund

Sign-up to receive the latest updates from Congressional *Representatives

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo

Congresswoman Jackie Speier

*I strongly recommend signing up for both

County of San Mateo: Emergency Safety Net Assistance - Core Service Agencies

San Mateo County: Offices and Services during Pandemic

US Census

San Mateo County

Housing Leadership Council SMC: COVID-19 & Housing-What you need to know

Internal Revenue Service:

IRS File your taxes for FREE online at

California Tax Franchise Board New Due Dates:

Mental Health & Stress Relieving Resources:

Calm Blog

San Mateo County Mental Health Services

Center for Disease Control: Dealing with Corona Virus Stress & Anxiety

Family Fun- Fun Ideas & Things To Do At Home

Johanna Rasmussen’s Butterfly Gardening in the San Francisco Bay Area Blog: Johanna’s blog includes photographs, information and lots of information and ideas to creating your own butterfly garden.

Open Culture: All Ages: FREE Cultural & Educational Media on the Web

Redwood City Library: Downloadable e-books magazines newspapers & more

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