Oakland COVID-19 Update: First Alameda County death, AC Transit fare-free, Oakland schools

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

California is in a state of emergency. One week has passed since Bay Area health officials declared a shelter-in-place order for six Bay Area counties, including the City of Oakland. 

The Alameda County Public Health Department does not provide city-level data, so it is not clear how many COVID-19 cases are in the City of Oakland. There are 112 cases in Alameda County, excluding the City of Berkeley. Alameda County announced its first coronavirus-related death this morning.

OPD officer tested positive for COVID-19

An Oakland Police officer tested positive for COVID-19, or coronavirus, according to Bay City News. The officer is self-quarantined, in recovery, and has not been to work since Sunday, March 15. Officials have not identified the officer. According to the report, this is the department’s first case and the department is following Alameda County’s shelter-in-place order and Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. 

Nurses at Oakland’s Kaiser cared for cruise ship patients

Officials said that crew members and passengers on the Grand Princess Cruise ship would not be quarantined or released to the general public. The Intercept reports that staff at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center “have been caring for a number of people who were aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship,” and nurses “received instructions this week to reuse disposable medical equipment.” Staff feel the working conditions at this moment of the COVID-19 pandemic put them and their patients at risk.

The Grand Princess had been stranded off the coast of California for days. Of the 3,531 people aboard the ship, at least 21 passengers tested positive for coronavirus. 

Oakland teachers adapt to ‘distance learning’

With the public schools closed due to COVID-19 health concerns, Oakland teachers are scrambling to adapt to “distance learning” for their students. Oakland Voices reported on how the Town’s schools “provide food, shelter, … healthcare, and much more.” Many students lack access to computers and Internet access, especially due to library closures, but educators are collaborating to make resources available. 

AC Transit fare-free, requiring rear-door boarding

No such things as a free ride? 

AC Transit will not require passengers to pay effective Monday, March 23, but they will have to enter through the rear-doors, the public transit agency announced. “AC Transit is deemed to provide an essential service during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” according to the release. “This means we continue to serve riders who rely on public transit for vital access to resources, healthcare, and employment. While operating, we are committed to the collective well-being and health of our riders and employees. This includes following social distancing measures. Customers are strongly encouraged to stay or sit 6-feet from other passengers and the bus operator when boarding, exiting and riding the bus.”

Paying AC Transit passengers usually enter through the front door of the bus, within inches of the bus driver. Passengers who require ADA ramps, use mobility devices, or need priority seating may use the front door, but it appears operators will not secure their seats for them. “Wheelchair riders may be allowed onboard without securements by bus operators,” AC Transit said. 

AC Transit, which is continuing construction of its Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, is providing regular COVID-19 updates on its website .

BART is reducing service starting today

BART will temporarily reduce its service hours today, as Oakland Voices reported last week. Starting on today, BART trains will run on weekdays from 5am to 9pm and weekends from 8am to 9pm. Service normally ends at midnight on weekdays and begins at 6am on Saturdays and 8am on Sundays. Trains will maintain their current train frequency between the adjusted hours.

Last week, BART reported a 90 percent reduction in ridership due to the coronavirus and shelter-in-place health order.

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