Coronavirus preparedness: NERT volunteers distribute COVID-19 health, safety flyers throughout San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- NERT volunteers canvassed San Francisco Wednesday morning to hand out flyers about the novel coronavirus. The fact sheet offered tips on how to protect from the virus and how to prepare for it.


Volunteers were stationed at 10 high traffic locations like public transportation stops and shopping areas throughout the city.

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One volunteer at the West Portal station said he managed to get the flyers into the hands of some people who rushed by.

"Some people are turning away, saying they already have the information. Some are taking it willingly and ask for a couple of copies so they can take them to work," said NERT volunteer Brian Schillinger.
NERT stands for Neighborhood Emergency Response team.

The city's Emergency Operations center has set up a website and reached out on social media. But officials decided they needed to do more.

"We want to take it to the next step and really just connect with people and make sure we are putting the right information into their hands," said Francis Zamora, the spokesperson for the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management.
Some who accepted the flyer appreciate the outreach.

"I mean I think it's nice the city is caring and is passing out flyers to help show what to do," said Jacob Harvell as he waited for his bus.

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This message comes as the number of cases in the Bay Area increases. Contra Costa County has now reported its first case. Health officials say the person has not traveled or come in contact with anyone who is infected. Berkeley also announced its first case. The patient just returned from a trip to Italy, is in their 30's, has no chronic medical conditions and is recovering at home.

There are no known cases in San Francisco but officials say it is important to prepare.

"We are now testing in San Francisco. As you increase the frequency of tests, we do expect there will be confirmed cases in San Francisco. But that's not a reason to panic," Zamora said.

The flyer says to wash your hands, cover your cough and sneeze with your elbow, stay home if you are sick and get a flu shot.

To prepare, the handout advises making back-up childcare plans and to have a supply of essential medications. It also says there is no need to wear masks to prevent the disease.

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