Oakland opens second COVID-19 testing site, residents raise funds for service providers

cellular image of novel coronavirus with the word Oakland above
Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

Alameda County’s total number of coronavirus cases increased to 557, the public health department reported today. Thirteen people have died. The U.S. President warned that this upcoming week would be “one of the toughest weeks.” 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended residents wear face cloths to help prevent the spread of the virus. This is in addition to other federal guidelines (PDF). 

As Oakland Voices reported last week, the Bay Area shelter-in-place order has been extended until May 3. Residents should still stay home unless for essential needs like food, work, childcare, avoid gatherings and continue social distancing, and wash your hands. 

Oakland opens testing site for healthcare, grocery store workers 

Oakland is opening a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at the parking lot of Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced this morning. The site is being run by La Clinica de la Raza and will serve workers in healthcare, grocery stores, and food banks, as well as outreach workers working with unhoused residents.

Wearing a red bandana, Mayor Schaaf said employees can sign-up for testing through their employers. Officials hope that this testing process will allow “contact tracing.” If anyone tests positive, officials can work with the individual to trace who they’ve made contact with.

The testing site was opened through donations to the Oakland’s COVID-19 fund, OaklandFund.org. Last week, Oakland launched its first testing site for first responders and city employees. The sites can offer approximately 250 tests per day each and results are available within five days. 

These sites will not serve the general public, like the City of Hayward’s. A physician with Brown and Toland, Oakland’s partner for the testing sites, recommended members of the public seeking tests contact their physician. Those who wish to sign up can email the City.

West Oakland distillery produces hand sanitizer

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, West Oakland-based distillery Wright & Brown Distilling Co. had pivoted from brewing bourbon and rum to making hand sanitizers for first responders. Recent Oakland Voices alumna Iris M. Crawford reports on how this business is adapting to the Bay Area shelter-in-place and helping address the shortage of hand sanitizer. 

Economic relief and funds for Oakland residents

Last week Oakland Voices reported on the economic relief bill, the federal CARES Act. The legislation will extend unemployment benefits and offer a $1,200 check to many residents. 

Although undocumented Oakland residents will not benefit from the federal CARES Act, a coalition of non-profits and the city of Oakland have teamed up to create the Oakland Undocumented Relief Fund, our OUR Fund, Azucena Rasilla reports.

Oakland residents and organizations are coming together to provide relief for the community. Community Ready Corps announced two funds. The Black Solidarity Fund is providing $500 to 10 organizations and the People’s Relief Fund will provide $100 to 100 people.

The city of Oakland is also providing relief for small businesses. 
We will add these funds and others to the Oakland Voices COVID-19 resource page.

Author Profile

Rasheed Shabazz is a multimedia storyteller, urban planning historian, and youth development professional based in the Bay Area. He is co-director of Oakland Voices. He recently completed his Masters of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley. 

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