Contra Costa: Case Study
in Community Compassion

For all of us caught in the midst of this unprecedented pandemic, life has changed fundamentally. How we socialize, learn, exercise, dine and work has been reshaped entirely in the course of just a few weeks. That level of change, combined with the inherent health concerns related to COVID-19, has created levels of stress and anxiety typical of war zones. Combine all that with the frustration of not knowing when this might end, how we will all be impacted and what a post-COVID-19 world will look like, and you might expect fractures in our community.

But we’re not breaking apart. In fact, as I look around, I see a community that is pulling together in a thousand different and powerful ways. Yes, we’re all under immense stress, but Contra Costa County has risen to the occasion showing a level of respect, cooperation and involvement that is simply remarkable. It’s too early to predict the future, but one thing I do foresee is Contra Costa County emerging from all this with pride for modeling a remarkable level of civility and leadership.

It’s these increased acts of community participation that make it possible for Contra Costa Health Services to respond in a coordinated, science-based and thoughtful manner to this crisis. The health department’s job is to protect and preserve life. We drill for mass emergencies like this – earthquakes, fires, disease and other disasters. It is our obligation to be prepared even for a  once-in-a-century pandemic. And now, with COVID-19, that mission inspires and drives us to balance the need for extreme caution with a respect for your need to live as normal a life as possible in the face of this crisis.

As one of the first states to see COVID-19 cases, California could well have faced the same catastrophic impacts that other states are now experiencing. However, because of the courage and foresight of health and government officials in Contra Costa County and the entire Bay Area, we took strong and immediate action. Issuing one of the nation’s first region-wide shelter in place orders, the Bay Area slowed the spread of this unprecedented threat to prevent the crushing demand on hospital resources, which prevented illness and death. None of this is possible without the understanding and cooperation of all of you. Your willingness to disrupt your lives for the health and wellbeing of the entire community as well as the safety of our essential workers was and continues to be vital to our ongoing success.

What is often lost in all the pandemic attention is that we continue to provide the essential health services that are vital to each of you. From healthcare and public health operations to plan checks for new food facilities and hazardous waste oversight, we know that these less visible services are nevertheless essential to our overall well-being. In fact, even in the midst of the all the work to address COVID-19, we continue to provide many of the traditional non-COVID-19 health services.

Part of what’s made our response effective thus far has been the cooperation and coordination of the entire county government apparatus. From your supervisors and administrators to the multiple different county departments, we are seeing an unprecedented level of alignment. Separate departments are sharing resources, staff expertise and contacts to make sure that the county’s response is as comprehensive and coordinated as possible. By the same respect, the county’s 19 cities are partnering closely with all of these efforts to magnify our reach, impact and efficiency. It truly is an example of an all government response to support and protect the people of Contra Costa.

There has been a lot of focus on the amazing individuals on the frontlines of this epidemic – our healthcare workers, medics, police, fire and many more.

 

As the county’s health director, I have never been more inspired in my entire career than to be at the helm of doctors, nurses, clinicians, lab workers, disease investigators, community health workers, registration, administration and custodial staff and countless other essential workers who have never once questioned their responsibility. Instead, they come to work every day knowing the added risks they face in the upcoming shift but dedicated to their calling of protecting and preserving lives in our county. It’s humbling to witness this level of dedication and commitment to others. And for every health care professional, there’s a team of support staff working to make sure they have the materials, protection, data, information, and expertise they need so they can focus their attention on the work of helping people get and stay well.

The other day, I was on my way to an alternative care site we have prepared in Richmond. As I was driving, I saw a gathering of people at a local high school. With masks and gloves on, dozens of volunteers had shown up to distribute food to their neighbors, friends and strangers who are feeling some of the greatest economic impact of this pandemic. As I passed the group I was filled with a deep sense of gratitude. Here were individuals stepping forward in a time of crisis. Not for financial gain, not for prestige, but out of a deep sense of community. I am certain that it is that level of citizenship, a volunteerism that we are seeing in every corner of this county, that is making a difference and is going to get us through COVID-19 and maintain the sense of who we are as a people, a community and a county.

Many thanks for all the information so many of you have shared with Contra Costa Health Services. Your input, ideas and feedback are helping us to improve each day. Thank you for your continued support of our health system and each other.

Wishing you all safety and wellness,

Anna’s Signature
 

Anna M Roth

Director, Contra Costa Health Services

A Message from Contra Costa's Health Director, Anna M. Roth

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Living Contra Costa:
Photos, Videos & Stories of a Community Working Together

Community Snapshots

  • County Librarians Bring Stories to Life on Facebook and YouTube
     

  • Teachers Get Creative with Online Lessons and Activities
     

  • Contra Costa Food Bank Unveils Drive-Thru Pick Up
     

  • “Eye Of Diablo” Pearl Harbor Remembrance Beacon To Be Lit Every Sunday In Response To Coronavirus Pandemic
     

  • Concord Live! Virtual Series Supports Local Businesses

County Librarians Bring Stories to Life on Facebook and YouTube

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Phasellus placerat ligula sed auctor lacinia. Aenean elementum sapien augue, sed ornare ipsum ultricies ac. Proin sit amet urna ipsum. Sed sit amet dignissim diam, ac luctus ante. Duis quis magna non diam pellentesque gravida. Curabitur ante augue, pharetra non mi a, consequat bibendum quam.

Nulla pharetra ut est non tincidunt. Donec at ultrices est. Donec suscipit sem nec ligula scelerisque, ac vehicula neque cursus. Donec rhoncus eget sapien quis blandit. Sed elit sapien, rhoncus a diam non, fringilla elementum ipsum. Curabitur pellentesque vel est vel luctus. Nunc porta faucibus leo. Sed blandit sit amet metus eget malesuada. 

Teachers Get Creative with Online Lessons and Activities

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Phasellus placerat ligula sed auctor lacinia. Aenean elementum sapien augue, sed ornare ipsum ultricies ac. Proin sit amet urna ipsum. Sed sit amet dignissim diam, ac luctus ante. Duis quis magna non diam pellentesque gravida. Curabitur ante augue, pharetra non mi a, consequat bibendum quam.

Nulla pharetra ut est non tincidunt. Donec at ultrices est. Donec suscipit sem nec ligula scelerisque, ac vehicula neque cursus. Donec rhoncus eget sapien quis blandit. Sed elit sapien, rhoncus a diam non, fringilla elementum ipsum. Curabitur pellentesque vel est vel luctus. Nunc porta faucibus leo. Sed blandit sit amet metus eget malesuada. 

Contra Costa Food Bank Unveils Drive-Thru Pick Up

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis eu tellus vitae leo finibus facilisis et eu eros. In hendrerit velit et ligula blandit tempor. Morbi finibus tellus vehicula ipsum interdum, sagittis vestibulum velit interdum. Phasellus et auctor lacus. 

Phasellus placerat ligula sed auctor lacinia. Aenean elementum sapien augue, sed ornare ipsum ultricies ac. Proin sit amet urna ipsum. Sed sit amet dignissim diam, ac luctus ante. Duis quis magna non diam pellentesque gravida. Curabitur ante augue, pharetra non mi a, consequat bibendum quam.

Nulla pharetra ut est non tincidunt. Donec at ultrices est. Donec suscipit sem nec ligula scelerisque, ac vehicula neque cursus. Donec rhoncus eget sapien quis blandit. Sed elit sapien, rhoncus a diam non, fringilla elementum ipsum. Curabitur pellentesque vel est vel luctus. Nunc porta faucibus leo. Sed blandit sit amet metus eget malesuada. 

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