Public Health – Emergency Medical Services – Behavioral Health – Environmental Health
Homeless Care & Coordination – HealthPAC – Center for Healthy Schools & Communities
Week of November 9, 2020
Alameda County Health Care Services Agency Update
This week Alameda County announced a temporary pause on plans to open additional activities due to recent increases in the COVID-19 case rate. We are currently in the Orange Tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy and anticipate moving back to a more restrictive tier soon. We will not open additional activities and will likely need to close higher risk activities shortly if the case rate continues to climb. As we observed last March, earlier actions taken across the Bay Area helped us flatten the first curve. Alameda County has continued to take a cautious approach throughout the pandemic, moving more slowly than other counties across the State to protect the health and safety of our community. We remain grateful for the sacrifices made by residents and local businesses since the pandemic began and must remain vigilant in our actions.
As we move into the holiday season, we also encourage everyone to keep in-person gatherings small, short, stable, and outdoors. Nonessential travel, including holiday travel, is not recommended. Travel outside the Bay Area increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus to others and if you leave the Bay Area, a 14-day self-quarantine period is strongly recommended. Help protect our families, friends, and communities, especially those loved ones who may be at high risk for severe illness and death. Please wear face coverings whenever you leave home and stay at least six feet away from people who don’t live with you. Stay home when ill and wash your hands frequently. Please get your flu shot and follow Bay Area Health Officials’ joint recommendations developed on holiday gatherings and travel.
Each week we provide a digest of new information sourced from presentations to the Board of Supervisors and other key stakeholders. We hope you find this summary useful, and we appreciate your readership and your support in preventing COVID-19.
COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Planning
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continue to work on a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. The CDC and CDPH will determine how the vaccines will be distributed and counties will be responsible for identifying and meeting unique local needs. Counties are required to submit an initial plan to the State by December 1, with logistics and distribution, stakeholder engagement, identification of critical populations, and reporting and monitoring.
Alameda County is planning to distribute the vaccine using an equity lens to ensure that high risk and highly impacted populations are prioritized. We will be working closely with health care providers across the County and seeking input from community providers and representatives of priority populations and neighborhoods. CDPH and CDC plans don’t currently require mandatory vaccination.
Fight the Flu: Don’t Hesitate. Vaccinate!
Getting the flu vaccine reduces illness and transmission in our community, reduces clinic visits and hospitalization, and prevents illness that mimic COVID-19. Flu shots are recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. Community flu clinics include the following sites:
· Nov 14: McClymond’s High School
· Nov 16: San Leandro Senior Center
Updated flu information can be found on our Public Health website along with a current list of county immunization clinics. You’ll also find an interactive map on our homepage. Stay up to date on flu clinics, COVID guidance, and more by following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!
State Health Equity Metric
As of November 7 (data from October 25 to 31), test positivity in the least advantaged areas of Alameda County was 2.8% compared to 1.6% countywide. We continue to observe increases in the test positivity rates.
We are continuing our collaboration with 11 Community Based Organization (CBO) Outreach and Health Education (OHE) teams to disseminate COVID-19 prevention messaging, content, and collateral.
Testing rates remain high, with a 7-day average for testing over 5,000. Our 13 community testing sites in Oakland, Berkeley, Fremont, Pleasanton, and San Leandro are still conducting tests, along with the weekend testing site at Lake Merritt and our seven mobile testing vendors. Additional testing sites, opportunities, and events can be found on our COVID-19 testing page.
Trends in Cases and Hospitalizations
The number of new cases per day and hospitalizations increased again slightly over the last week. We anticipated that the hospitalizations rates would increase since these rates typically increase several weeks after there is an increase in case rates.
The November 7 metrics reflect the State’s 7-day average and 7-day lag (data reported October 25-31):
· The unadjusted case rate is 4.9 per 100,000.
· Cumulative cases were 24,851, and cumulative deaths were 475.
· COVID-19 positive patients included 69 hospitalized and 18 in ICU beds.
As of November 11, the occupancy rate for all Safer Ground units was 95% for hotel rooms and trailers sheltering 1251 individuals. Project Roomkey isolation/quarantine hotel rooms and trailer units continue to provide housing for people living in crowded conditions or are experiencing homelessness. We are still in the process of preparing for a transition from interim homeless housing to permanent supportive housing through Project Homekey.
Alameda County’s Medi-Cal Specialty Mental Health Services
Last week, Behavioral Health completed a review of Alameda County’s Medi-Cal Specialty Mental Health Services by Behavioral Health Concepts, Inc., California’s External Quality Review Organization (CalEQRO). Preliminary feedback highlighted the team, and their work completed this past year, including coordination with local providers and the rapid and collaborative response to COVID-19. We look forward to hearing the full feedback regarding our efforts and how our system might continue to improve its care delivery in the coming months.