The surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths in Alameda County has been ongoing for several weeks, and as of Wednesday the county has double the number of confirmed cases as it had a month earlier.
On May 9, Alameda County recorded 2,023 cases, which at the time was around 300 fewer cases than had been found in neighboring Santa Clara County. In the month since, Alameda County has surged ahead to become the Bay Area hot spot for new COVID-19 diagnoses, and surpassing Santa Clara County two weeks ago for the total cumulative number of cases.
As of Wednesday, the county now has 4,033 cases — nearly 100 percent more than a month prior. During that same period, by comparison, San Francisco's case count grew by 50 percent — from 1,891 on May 9 to 2,809 today — and Santa Clara's count grew by 30 percent. A graph showing the growth in case numbers across the nine-county Bay Area shows how Alameda County's count (at the top, in coral/orange) has swelled while other counties' case growth has steadied over the last month.
Some of the growth in confirmed cases can be attributed to more widespread testing, however Alameda County has also been seeing an uptick in both COVID hospitalizations and deaths — figures which would not vary based on testing discrepancies. As noted yesterday, Alameda County saw a jump of 10 ICU patients over four days this past week, and as of today it's up by 11, or 52 percent in less than a week.
Many experts have been fearing a surge in cases connected to either the reopening of various businesses, or to the widespread protests happening in the last two weeks. The current surge in Alameda County may be connected to some of the reopenings that happened several weeks ago, however Alameda County has had fairly strict restrictions in place, much like San Francisco, with only curbside retail starting to be allowed in mid-May.
As SFist reported two weeks ago, one zip code in East Oakland (94601) was emerging as a hot spot, with one of the highest per capita rates of infection in the Bay Area. That zip code encompasses the Fruitvale, Fairfax, Jefferson, Melrose, and Jingletown neighborhoods, and as of today, the zip code has 494 confirmed cases, or a per capita rate of 885 per 100,000 residents. That is a rise of 60 percent in less than 14 days, and it represents 12 percent of the county's overall case count.
As a result of the surge, Alameda County health officials are holding off on the reopening of any sit-down dining, while the five other Bay Area counties it was moving in lock-step with on restrictions are allowing restaurants to reopen. San Francisco is allowing outdoor dining starting Friday, while Contra Costa, San Mateo, Marin, and Santa Clara counties all reopened for outdoor dining last week. Sonoma and Napa counties are now allowing both indoor and outdoor dining.
Alameda County's health department isn't giving a specific date for outdoor dining to resume, as ABC 7 reports. The department said in a statement Wednesday, "We don't have a set date, but according to our reopening plan, outdoor dining will be considered for reopening in the next 2-4 weeks."
Photo: Will Truettner