Alameda County supes reflect on pandemic year, cautiously optimistic about future

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors reflected for a minute Tuesday on the past year and the people who have lost their lives to COVID-19 or other causes, the people who have been hurt by the disease and the people who have served during the pandemic.

"I think right now we are in a time of cautious optimism," Board President Keith Carson said at Tuesday's meeting.

The first case of COVID-19 in the county was reported Feb. 28, 2020, and a public health emergency was declared in the county March 17, 2020, following the county's first shelter-at-home order the day before.

Following the reflection, the board heard from Colleen Chawla, director of the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, who provided some reasons for more optimism.

Nearly 15 percent of the Alameda County population has been fully vaccinated from COVID-19 and daily case rates are going down, she said. Over the past 10 days, 60 to 130 cases of COVID-19 have been reported. That's down from the peak of 1,275 cases reported on Jan. 7.

About 2 million tests for the coronavirus have been completed and nearly 600,000 doses of the vaccine administered, Chawla said.

But more work is needed in the Black community around vaccinations, according to Chawla. The Black community has the highest COVID-19 death rate in the county, according to county data.

Also, Chawla said for every white person who has died from the coronavirus, 1.8 Black people have died.

The Black community is being reached more successfully through a state/federal mobile clinic rather than established sites like the Oakland Coliseum, according to data from the Governor's Office of Emergency Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Of the vaccine administered at Oakland's state/federal mobile vaccination clinic, 25 percent has gone to the Black community while only 4 percent of the vaccine administered at the Oakland Coliseum has gone the Black community, the data show.