Supporting our Health Care Workers
I want to thank all the frontline workers who have been working day-and-night to support our community during this incredibly difficult time. They are in hospitals and clinics throughout the city, providing top-notch care to those in need and working around the clock to fight COVID-19, and we are endlessly grateful for their service.
Earlier this week, we announced a Public Health Order requiring people to stay home except for essential needs. On Thursday, Governor Newsom announced a complementary statewide shelter-in-place order for California. Now, the vast majority of residents in San Francisco and the State of California are required to stay home except for essential needs. The goal of these orders is to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our health care system from being overwhelmed.
While most of us stay home, our health care workers and other essential employees to continue to show up every day to do the hard work of caring for those in need and working to save lives. We need our doctors and nurses now more than ever, and they need to be able to do their critical work without worrying about accessing and paying for child care.
That’s why the City of San Francisco created an emergency child and youth care program to provide care for children of health care workers, employees of clinics, essential Department of Public Health employees, and Disaster Service Workers. This free emergency care is available on an invite-only basis to frontline employees who are working in San Francisco, regardless of if they’re working in public or private hospitals or clinics. We are all in this together, and our City departments have come together to provide this service for our city.
Starting next week, emergency care facilities for kids in grades K-8 will operate with extended hours, from 6:30am until 7:30pm to support health care workers in both public and private hospitals who typically have 12-hour shifts. For more information on the City’s Emergency Child Care Program, visit dcyf.org/care.
The Office of Early Care and Education is coordinating child care for frontline workers with kids ages 0–5. More info is available at: https://sfoece.org/2020/03/18/covid-19-coronavirus-information-and-resources/
The Library is in the process of implementing an emergency care program for youth in grades 8–12, and expects that program will be ready in the coming week. We’ll provide more information as soon as it’s available.
The Department of Human Resources is conducting outreach to Department of Public Health staff and Disaster Service Workers about the emergency care program. The Recreation and Park Department and the Department of Emergency Management are working together to conduct outreach to hospital and health care clinic staff.
As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we need to make sure we have enough medical professionals to care for people in need. We especially need more nurses in our hospitals. Earlier this week, I announced a Declaration to expedite City hiring of employees that are necessary to respond to the COVID-19 local emergency.
Typically, the hiring process for nurses takes six months or more. During this crisis, we don’t have time to wait six months, so we instituted a change that allows the City to hire qualified, licensed nurses “on the spot,” rather than through the normal months-long process.
This weekend, the Department of Public Health will host an invitation-only nurse hiring fair at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and will continue hosting hiring fairs until all nurse vacancies are filled.
Hiring more nurses will help us as we respond to COVID-19 and will hopefully relieve some of the pressure on our health care system.
We are also working to secure more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our frontline health care workers. As we plan for the surge of medical cases in our hospitals, we need more equipment to protect our workers and keep them healthy and safe. Here in San Francisco, we aren’t waiting around and hoping this equipment appears — we are doing the work to find it anywhere we can.
Yesterday, I announced a large donation of PPE from Flexport. We are grateful to Flexport for providing these supplies at this critical moment in our City’s response
To our health care workers and essential employees: Thank you for everything you are doing. We are all in this together, and we will continue doing everything in our power to support you.