County ramping up outreach to essential workers in hard-hit COVID neighborhoods

Santa Clara County health leaders announced new efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, particularly in hard-hit neighborhoods.

The outreach efforts to residents and businesses in areas disproportionately harmed by the pandemic stepped up this week. A Community Health and Business Engagement Team (CHBET) began canvassing this month. Officials say the team has spoken to 3,300 businesses and 1,400 individual workers.

Portions of East San Jose and south Santa Clara County have COVID-19 rates much higher than the West Valley.

“This kind of personal engagement really helps get accurate information out to the community, and we find that most businesses are willing and eager partners,” said Cindy Chavez, President of the County Board of Supervisors.

Chavez introduced the legislation to create the team. The county is investing more than $1 million in the program.

“From the beginning of this pandemic, we have prioritized more resources for the hardest-hit communities,” said County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody.

Local non-profit agencies and community groups are also helping with the outreach efforts. This new team has two dozen members, including multilingual staff to serve these diverse resident populations.

“Santa Clara County is incredibly diverse, and some communities can be insulated from messaging unless approached by someone who not only speaks their language, but also understands the concerns specific to the community,” said Betty Duong from the County’s Emergency Operations Center.