Where were you on March 2, 2020, when it all began?
Exactly one year ago, children across San Mateo County gathered to enjoy Read Across America Day.
In the presidential race, Vice President Joe Biden had just won his first primary.
Local sports headlines said a sold-out home crowd of 18,064 saw the injury-plagued Golden State Warriors lose by 14 at home the night before.
Students at high schools in Burlingame, Redwood City and Half Moon Bay, meanwhile, celebrated weekend sports championships.
And everyone enjoyed a balmy 70 degrees from Daly City to Half Moon Bay and Menlo Park. In short, a fine late-winter day.
That is until news broke that San Mateo County Health reported the first known local case of COVID-19.
“That was the pivotal moment when life as we knew it changed. We didn’t know at the time just how profound those changes would be,” said County Manager Mike Callagy, who also serves as the countywide head of emergency services. “This is a moment we will all remember because since then we’ve all been challenged like nothing before in most of our lifetimes.”
The County set the foundation to activate the Emergency Operations Center, or EOC, weeks before. County Health detected the threat from COVID-19 and activated its own Department Operations Center as the coronavirus reached the United States in January. The County then ramped up the EOC’s planning functions and staffing to prepare for the March 2, 2020 activation – when its operations went 24/7.
Callagy said he is “proud of this county for the way the elected officials, County staff, private industry, nonprofit organizations and residents have pulled together to address this unprecedented crisis.”
This includes coming together to form the San Mateo County Strong Fund, a public-private initiative that raises funds to help individuals, small businesses and nonprofit groups that are financially struggling due to the pandemic.