COVID Cases Start to Drop but ICU Cases Remain High

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

COVID Cases Start to Drop but ICU Cases Remain High

The good news is that COVID cases are declining in Alameda County since the peak after on January 7, 2021, with 1,315 positive cases reported that day. On January 26, there were 256 positive cases reported in the county.

However, hospitalizations have not declined as quickly. On January 17, 2021, there was a peak of 458 total people hospitalized, with 115 of those people in the ICU. (The peak number of people in the ICU was on December 23, 2020 with 124 people). On January 26, 2021, the total number of hospitalizations dropped to 382 but there were still the same number of people, 115, in the ICU.

Oakland has a total of 22,343 cumulative cases now.

COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout is Slow

COVID vaccine rollout has been slow and uneven. While the state has said those over 65 years-old are allowed to get the vaccines now, the county is still vaccinating essential healthcare workers and people over 75 years-old.

For example, Kaiser sent out a mass email to members yesterday stating that they are still vaccinating healthcare workers and will reach out to those 75 years or older when vaccines become available:

“We’re currently continuing to vaccinate health care workers. We’ll be reaching out to members 75 years or older, as appointments become available. We are following California Department of Public Health guidelines and prioritizing those patients who are at an increased risk of mortality or other severe disease, as well as those who reside in vulnerable communities. Once contacted by Kaiser Permanente, these members will be provided instructions to schedule their appointments online or through the Appointment and Advice Call Center.”

Anecdotally, people outside of healthcare workers have received the vaccine in the county through various means, either by luck of through a lot of advocacy and phone-calling.

OUSD and OEA Discuss Re-Opening Plans

OUSD is still in discussions about re-opening schools. Whether that will happen this semester or not remains to be seen. OUSD’s plan states that the county must be in the orange tier before re-opening. The county is currently still in the purple tier, with red tier after that, and then orange.

A recent report by KGO/ABC7 states that the district hopes to open within the next few months, while the teachers’ union, Oakland Education Association, remains cautious.

There are a number of safety measures that both sides are considering, including ventilation, safety measures at the school sites, the case rates, testing and contact tracing, and who gets vaccinated (teachers, staff, families, children).

There are many upcoming virtual information sessions from the district to discuss re-opening plans on February 1, 2, 9, 16, and 22. See the full list here.

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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