COVID Vaccination Begins as ICU Beds Fall Below 15 Percent; Plus, How to Get Tested

image of a vial and needle against a blue background
Photo by Markus Spiske via Unsplash.


Just as the COVID-19 vaccines arrive to frontline workers in the Bay Area, the region’s ICU beds dip below 15 percent availability.

As of yesterday, the Bay Area’s ICU beds dropped to 12.7 percent, according to KGO news. What this means is the remaining counties that were not a part of the new shelter-in-place order (which Alameda County was already a part of) will now have to follow: San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Napa and Solano counties. This includes no gathering with people not in your household, and shutting down outdoor dining in those neighboring counties.

The vaccine has also arrived and healthcare workers who work in acute care settings will have priority on the first vaccines. More updates on vaccines later.


COVID testing is one way to help ensure some level of safety from contracting or sharing the disease. Keep in mind that you can get tested, wait for results, and later get COVID and then spread it. The best practice is to test and then self-isolate until you get results. Also, you can get tested “early” during the onset of COVID and receive a negative test, but still have it.

The very best practice advised by healthcare practitioners is to not gather indoors and unmasked with anyone outside your household during this time. The community spread of COVID is very far and wide in the Bay Area right now. It is actually a rule under the county’s stay-at-home guidelines.

If you want to get tested, here are sites in Oakland. Some of the sites don’t have appointments (unless you are an healthcare or essential worker) until a few weeks out but many also take walk-ups.

One other new site is at several locations in Oakland including at The Crucible in West Oakland and Park Day School, as The Oaklandside reporter Azucena Rasilla reported on. The mobil test site pops up in several Oakland locations now including West Oakland, Park Day School in Oakland, Lake Park by Lake Merritt, and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in East Oakland. Results are turned around within 48 hours. This test is a self-administered cheek/mouth swab, and not a nose swab.


OUSD will not be able to re-open in late January, as was stated in the plans sent to the county office of education. Read more from the district’s Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell.

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).

1 Comment

  1. How do you find the pop up testing sites? I saw one under the 580 freeway where the Grand Lake farmers market is. I’d like to find out more- what kind of test/testing/results/appointments. Not listed on in the link AC DPH 9why not?)

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