Alameda County eases stay at home restrictions as coronavirus cases continue to rise

Oakland surpasses 800 COVID-19 cases

chart of covid-19 cases in oakland.
Coronavirus cases in Oakland rose from 127 on April 8 to 818 by May 17.

Oakland has 818 COVID-19 cases as of this weekend. In Alameda County, 2,457 residents have coronavirus and 83 have died. 

The City of Oakland announced a new testing site in East Oakland today at Allen Temple Baptist Church “to prioritize testing access in the East Oakland communities that are being hardest hit by this pandemic.”

Alameda County relaxes business restrictions on shelter-in-place order

Alameda County joined other counties in the Bay Area to announce a slight relaxing of the shelter-in-place orders that have been in place since mid-March. While residents are restricted to only “essential activities,” some businesses that practice physical distancing will be allowed to open again. Retails stores may resume business, but only with curbside or storefront pick-up and delivery. Manufacturing businesses and warehouses can operate under the state “Resilience Roadmap.” Last week, Fremont-based Tesla filed suit against Alameda County. 

Public and private gatherings are still banned, but “vehicle-based gatherings” of up to 200 cars at a time can gather for up to three hours. Gatherings with over 100 cars must have on site security in partnership with law enforcement or private security. Food and drinks cannot be sold at these events. Oakland’s sideshows likely will not qualify. 

“Alameda County has taken this step cautiously and will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 data and trends to make future decisions,” officials said in a release. “It is important that everyone continues to stay and work from home as much as possible; and wear a face covering when outside of their home when unable to social distance from others.”

Undocumented California residents eligible for one-time assistance 

Undocumented families ineligible to receive a federal stimulus check through the federal “CARES Act” can receive up to $1,000 per household through California’s Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI) Project. 

Applications went live today, May 18. In Alameda County, Catholic Charities East Bay is facilitating the program for the State of California. 

Oakland Voices alumna Marabet Morales Monday tweeted that the number and website for DRAI was not working. The toll-free number was “experiencing difficulties,” according to CCEB. By Tuesday, the website said, “Call volume is extremely high, and yet, with persistence, callers are getting through. It is the only way to apply for this help.” 

An undocumented adult that qualifies can receive $500 in direct assistance. Assistance is first come, first serve. More information is available on the CCEB website. The toll-free number is: 866-490-3899.

COVID-19 highlights controversies with Santa Rita Jail

People being held in Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail feel unsafe and at risk of contracting coronavirus. According to Berkeleyside, “Inmates said they’re not being provided with enough protective equipment like face masks, soap, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies.” Inmates said the jail is crowded and not all have been tested, despite many people being released due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Sheriff’s Office said their work has prevented an even worse outbreak. To date, 52 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Amid the crisis and controversy about the management of Santa Rita, Alameda County’s Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 last Tuesday to approve Sheriff Greg Ahern’s request for $318 million for Santa Rita. Three Supervisors representing portions of Oakland sit on the County board, Wilma Chan (District 3), Nate Miley (District 4), and Keith Carson (District 5). Miley, an ally of the sheriff’s office, supported the proposal. Carson and Chan opposed. For the past few years, the Ella Baker Center has been calling for an audit of Sheriff Greg Ahern’s office. 

One formerly incarcerated person, Darryl Geyer, spoke with KPFA about his experience in Santa Rita. He’s currently being housed in an Oakland motel, thanks to Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and All of Us or None, Oakland-based organizations that advocate for communities impacted by mass incarceration. 

Every spring, the two groups organize a statewide advocacy day, “Quest for Democracy.” LSPC and All of Us or None bus hundreds of people to Sacramento to talk with lawmakers about the impacts of incarceration on not just those people in prison, but their families and communities. This year, the groups hosted the biggest digital lobby day, “Digital Quest 4 Democracy.” 

Oakland A’s baseball back for summer?

Governor Gavin Newsom said pro-sports could return to California by June. Major League Baseball and players are negotiating protocols for safety. Former Oakland A’s manager Art Howe was released from the hospital, after testing positive for COVID-19 last week. 


Oakland Voices updated this story on May 19 to reflect that the Catholic Charities Website was working.

Have suggestions for our weekly COVID-19 ‘Rona Roundups? Please Email us your news tips. 


Every Monday and Thursday, Momo Chang and Rasheed Shabazz round-up Oakland-related COVID-19 coverage for Oakland Voices.

About Rasheed Shabazz

Rasheed Shabazz is a multimedia storyteller, urban planning historian, and youth development professional based in the Bay Area. He coordinates Oakland Voices and is currently in the Masters of City and Regional Planning program at UC Berkeley.  View all posts by Rasheed Shabazz →

One Comment

  1. Iris Crawford

    I am grateful yet also hesitant about this ease in restrictions. I just hope folks continue to protect themselves and continue to take the necessary precautions.

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