By Jackie Ward

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The San Francisco Department of Public Health on Wednesday was trying to get the word out on how residents can protect themselves from getting the virus, especially those who take public transportation.

Last week, Mayor London Breed declared a state of emergency in San Francisco with the intent not to alarm, but to help inform. That was what the activity Wednesday morning was all about.”

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For thousands across San Francisco, Muni is the only option to get to and from work. With growing concern over contracting the coronavirus comes increased fear on taking public transportation for some.

“I try not to breathe. I try to just hold my breath,” said San Francisco resident Alejandro Eustaquio.

Others aren’t as worried yet.

“Not really. There’s nothing to be worried about too much right now,” said Alicia Quintaro of San Francisco.

During the morning rush at the West Portal Muni station, volunteers with NERT — the Neighborhood Emergency Response Team — handed out flyers that provide accurate information on COVID-19 and tips on how to stay healthy.

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“People are saying all kinds of things, coming up with solutions that are made up,” said SF Fire Captain and NERT Coordinator Erica Arteseros. “But for us, it’s about getting the information out that the CDC is providing. So they are the scientists; they are the researchers.”

The city’s Department of Public Health advises residents to:

  • Wash your hands
  • Cover your mouth when you cough
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • And getting a flu shot

Those are still the best ways to keep from getting sick or spreading germs to others.

“It does make me aware now, more aware,” said Eustaquio. “But now I literally wash my hands for like 20 seconds, I scrub, I try to make sure that I’m not using my hands to open doors if I can.”

“They’re not even informing people about wearing masks actually wearing masks right now. I mean if it’s at that point where they’re telling people to wear masks, then I don’t think it’s a concern yet.”

The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management hopes this peer-to-peer information exchange will help clear up any confusion people may have as more is learned about the coronavirus every day.

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Volunteers will be at stations handing out flyers again Wednesday night for the evening commute and plan to do it twice a day through Saturday.