Our goal with our COVID-19 coverage: We want to connect you with information you need on the local response to COVID-19’s spread in Santa Cruz County. We also want to connect people in need with people and programs who can help. We are not necessarily chasing breaking news. We’re examining solutions: what’s working elsewhere, how it might apply in our county, and where it might fall short.

Click here for all our coronavirus stories.

What are the latest numbers?

Click on image for updated figures.
Source: California Department of Public Health, Santa Cruz Local reporting.
Click on image for updated figures.
Source: California Department of Public Health, Santa Cruz Local reporting.

Our goal with our COVID-19 coverage: We want to connect you with information you need on the local response to COVID-19’s spread in Santa Cruz County. We also want to connect people in need with people and programs who can help.

We are not chasing breaking news. We’re examining solutions: what’s working elsewhere, how it might apply in our county, and where it might fall short.

We believe that a well-informed and supportive community will get us through this pandemic. 

Here’s a list of questions that we’re using as a starting point for brainstorming our coronavirus stories, courtesy of the Solutions Journalism Network. Feel free to comment and share links.


Santa Cruz County general government resources

What are Santa Cruz County’s shelter orders?

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Get informed on the virus and the local response

How to help the community

Other local resources

Resources for workers and employers

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Get informed on the virus

What is the virus and what are the symptoms? 

  • COVID-19 is a flu-like illness that ranges from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • The virus is thought to be spread through respiratory droplets, when an infected person coughs or sneezes on someone else. The latest information from the Centers for Disease Control shows that the virus spreads from person to person, within six feet of each other. 

What can I do to help prevent the spread?

What do I do if I feel sick?

If you feel sick, stay home. If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, call your health provider and schedule an appointment. Your provider can make arrangements for testing and assessment in a way that limits exposure to other people.

If you feel sick and don’t have a health care provider or insurance, and you’re concerned you may have been exposed to COVID-19, stay home if your symptoms are mild. You can call 211 to find the nearest safety net clinic. Safety net clinics accept patients without insurance. Call the clinic before going in.

What are some local stories written about the local response to the coronavirus?

Which local stories are we missing from this list? Email us at [email protected].

How to help the community

Beyond the health impacts, the virus is bound to have many economic impacts locally over the coming months.

Who needs help?

Santa Cruz County public schools have been closed March 16 to April 10, leaving some parents without childcare plans. Some children depend on free school lunches. Their parents will have to pick up meals and groceries from school.

Elderly people are vulnerable to the coronavirus and need to stay home. They will need food deliveries and other help.

Large events have been canceled, leaving many low-wage hourly workers without work. 

Many local businesses have already seen revenue losses, with employees working from home and fewer customers.

Who are we missing from this list? Email ideas to [email protected], or better yet, take our short three-question survey.

I’d like to donate money. Who can I help?

The Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County has created a COVID-19 Local Response Fund to protect public health and support vulnerable people. The Community Foundation has already donated $30,000 each to Second Harvest Food Bank, Grey Bears and Community Bridges, and $15,000 to the Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, said Susan True, the Community Foundation’s CEO. Those nonprofits give food to people with limited access, such as the elderly, children from low-income families and migrant farmworker families. 

You can also donate to programs directly. Some links are here: Second Harvest Food Bank, Community Bridges’ Meals on Wheels, Grey Bears Healthy Food Delivery, Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County.

Some nonprofits have had to cancel fundraisers. 

For example, Housing Matters, formerly the Homeless Services Center in Santa Cruz, cancelled its annual Soupline fundraiser in April, which was forecasted to raise $100,000, said Phil Kramer, Housing Matters executive director. You can donate to Housing Matters here.

The Santa Cruz Symphony has a Musician Relief Fund to support its musicians with little income, now that concerts and events have been canceled.

Support our local businesses and healthcare workers by buying meals from local restaurants for our healthcare workers at covid-meals.org.

Who are we missing from this list? Email ideas to [email protected], or better yet, take our short three-question survey.

I’d like to donate goods. Who can I help?

Santa Cruz County now has an online form to coordinate donations of new masks, goggles, disinfectant wipes, hospital gowns and other gear.

Community Bridges, which runs the Meals on Wheels program for elderly residents, needs new, unopened Braun digital ear thermometers with disposable tips. They are now hard to find in stores. The program also needs unopened masks, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes and vinyl gloves. Email [email protected] if you have items to donate.

Housing Matters, formerly the Homeless Services Center, in Santa Cruz, has an Amazon Wish List. 

Grey Bears, a nonprofit that delivers meals to seniors, needs non-perishable food. Drop off non-expired, non-perishable food 8 a.m. to noon Monday to Friday at Grey Bears, 2710 Chanticleer Ave. in Live Oak. 

The Warming Center and Footbridge Services Center, which offers emergency shelter and storage services for homeless people, needs “hoodie” sweaters, blankets, and small adult sizes of pants. Donation barrels are at Staff of Life, 1266 Soquel Ave. in Santa Cruz  and the Westside Santa Cruz New Leaf, 1101 Fair Ave.

Who and what are we missing from this list? Email ideas to [email protected], or better yet, take our short three-question survey

I’d like to donate my time. How can I help?

TWIN LAKES CHURCH: Sign up to volunteer to provide home aid, elderly support, meal delivery services, and making cookies and cards to help people through this time.

Contact and more information at their “Give Help/ Get Help” page on their website.

CRUZ ONE: If you’re familiar with Zoom, Slack, Freshdesk (ticketing), or writing technical support articles, or are willing to learn any of those tech tools or tasks, Cruz One is looking for volunteers. Cruz One is a volunteer group that will provide technical support to the community during the coronavirus emergency. Its first goal is to help local K-12 schools transition to remote-based learning, during the public schools shutdown. Its second goal is to help the local community work remotely.

The group was formed by Cruzio CTO Chris Neklason on Friday March 13. Sign up to volunteer on Cruz One’s website.

MEALS ON WHEELS AND GREY BEARS: Elderly people are vulnerable to the virus and need to stay home as much as possible. Santa Cruz County has a few nonprofits that elderly people rely on for meals. 

Community Bridges’ Meals on Wheels program and Grey Bears have put a call out for healthy volunteers, to deliver food and assemble food delivery bags. 

This is a tricky situation, since Grey Bears’ assembly lines usually have about 50 people in the room. County health leaders have asked people, especially people 60 or older and those with underlying health conditions, to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people. 

We heard from many of you that you’re itching to help, but please make a responsible decision about volunteering and follow the county’s guidelines.

Community Bridges has asked that only healthy volunteers 50 or younger apply. Links to volunteer are here: Community Bridges’ Meals on Wheels and Grey Bears Healthy Food Delivery.

Who and what are we missing from this list? Email ideas to [email protected], or better yet, take our short three-question survey.

Other local resources

I have a child in public school. How can I pick up meals and groceries during the school closures?

Santa Cruz County public schools are closed March 16 – April 10. During the closure, schools will offer meals and groceries for any public school students ages 1-18 and their families. Pickup locations and times are listed here.

I have a small business and we’re not equipped to work remotely. Who can provide technical support?

Cruz One is a volunteer group that will provide technical support. Its first goal is to help local K-12 schools transition to remote-based learning, during the public schools shutdown. Its second goal is to help the local community work remotely.

The group was formed by Cruzio CTO Chris Neklason on Friday March 13. Sign up for help on Cruz One’s website. The group also is recruiting volunteers.

My work situation has changed due to the non-essential business closures. How can I apply for unemployment?

Unemployment Insurance may be available to you if your work has been affected by the closures. You can online on the California Employment Development Department website.

Make sure to have your past employment information on hand, such as information on your previous employer, work dates, earnings, and your employment authorization information (citizenship status, immigration status, etc).

What groups are organizing connecting people who can give help with people who can get help?

Twin Lakes Church has put together a “Give Help/ Get Help” page with resources for emotional and spiritual support, food pantry information, meal deliveries, driving assistance, elderly care, and more.

I would like someone to regularly call me to check in. Where can I sign up for this free service?

The “You Are Not Alone” or “YANA” program has been launched by the Santa Cruz Police Department to help keep give seniors, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable residents access to check-ins. Learn more here.