Hospitalizations in Alameda County Mostly Stable But Racial Disparities Among Positive COVID-19 Cases Worse Than May

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

Hospitalizations in Alameda County Mostly Stable But Latinx Cases Now Make up Nearly Half of Cases in County

The most recent data from the Alameda County Public Health Department shows that racial disparities are more stark compared to last month. On May 21, we reported that Latinx and African Americans are testing positive for COVID-19 at a higher rate than other demographics.

From that week’s report: “The “Hispanic/Latino” population has 261 incidents of COVID-19 out of 100,000 people, by far the highest rate of all races. The next highest population is African Americans at 130 incidents out of 100,000 people, followed by Pacific Islanders at 100 out of 100,000. This means that these populations have higher numbers of positive cases relative to their population size. (Race/ethnicity is not reported for about 20 percent of the cases tested in the county).”

But as of today, June 11, 2020, the data from the county’s dashboard shows that Latinx people make up nearly half of all positive COVID-19 cases in the county now: 1,888 out of 4,033 total positive cases, or 47%. On May 13, the Mercury News reported that “Latinos and Hispanics account for about 37.5 percent of the cases.”

Latinx people make up 22% of Alameda County’s population, yet they represent 47% of the cases in Alameda County (if we include the Hispanic white population based on the Census, the percentage of Latinx in Alameda County is 30%).

In comparison, all other populations are lower in proportion to their size in the county (about 15% is unknown race). The white population makes up 11% of COVID-19 cases and 30% of the population (not including the Hispanic white population). Asian Americans are 13% of cases and 30% of the county’s population. African Americans are about 10% of Alameda County’s population, and they represent about 8% of positive COVID-19 cases in Alameda County at this moment.*

The case rate for the Latinx population in Alameda County has also jumped from 261 incidents per 100,000 people to 497 out of 100,000. This could just be due to more people getting tested, but the overall percentage of people testing positive shows that Latinx communities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. It’s unclear what percentage of the Latinx population was being tested in May and June.

While it’s true that Alameda County has the most number of cases, the hospitalizations, according to the county, are mostly stable but overall have not gone down. The highest number of hospitalizations was May 30, 2020, with 105 people. As of June 9, 2020, there are 94 people in the hospital due to COVID-19. This is still higher than all of April, which peaked at 93 patients on April 10, 2020. The June 5, 2020 report from the county states that hospitals take up 4% of hospital beds and 9% of ICU beds. This is one of the indicators toward decisions on reopening. There have been 105 COVID-19 deaths in the county.**

No Al Fresco Dining in Alameda County Just Yet

Alameda County, with the highest cases, will continue to prohibit outdoor dining, according to ABC7 News. Alameda County continues to have the highest number of positive COVID-19 cases in the Bay Area.

What Are Next Steps in Reopening?

Earlier this week, Oakland Voices Coordinator Rasheed Shabazz reported on new guidelines for Alameda County, including reopening childcare centers, summer camps, outdoor “social bubbles,” and the requirement that everyone wears masks or face coverings outside.

According to the county’s plans, the next steps after the ones laid out above are (NOTE THAT THESE ARE NOT IN PLACE YET):

Expanded social bubbles

Outdoor retail

Outdoor dining

Outdoor museums

Limited religious and cultural services

Outdoor fitness & pools

Best Practice Guidelines to Prevent COVID-19

The County has also released this graphic to consider.

Guidelines from the Alameda County Public Health Department.

COVID-19 Risk

Lowest: open space, no physical contact, no shared surfaces

Moderate: small outdoor gatherings, physical distancing, brief contact, low rising in community

High: small indoor gatherings, poor ventilation, large outdoor gatherings, high mixing in community, close physical contact, longer duration of contact

Highest: large indoor gatherings, crowded conditions, prolonged contact, high mixing across communities, shared objects and surfaces, underlying health conditions

*This section was updated to include the white and Asian population.

**This section has been updated from the original post to include more data.

Author Profile

Momo Chang is a freelance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the Oakland Voices Co-Director. Her work focuses on healthcare, immigration, education, Asian American communities, food and culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune. Momo has received journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting and the Asian American Journalists Association, among others. Her work has appeared in the East Bay Express, San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, and The New York Times. Momo is primarily a print journalist who also produces audio and visual stories for documentary film and radio. She is a Senior Contributing Editor for Hyphen and formerly the Content Manager at the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).

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