Public Health – Emergency Medical Services – Behavioral Health – Environmental Health Homeless Care & Coordination – HealthPAC – Center for Healthy Schools & Communities

 

 

Week of August 31, 2020

 

Alameda County Health Care Services Agency Update

 

 

It’s been another busy week with multiple actions occurring at the state and local level:

·     Last Friday, Governor Newsom announced a shift from it’s Monitoring List to a color-coded four-tier Blueprint for Safe Reopening. In doing so, the State altered the reopening plans for various businesses and activities. Yesterday, Alameda County updated our local Health Officer Orders to align with a limited selection of activities allowed in the Purple Tier and issued in-person learning readiness questionnaire for schools. We summarize these updates in the Blueprint article below.

·     On Monday, Governor Newsom signed a statewide temporary tenant and landlord protection legislation. The law extends protections for tenants to shield them from evictions due to COVID-19-related back rent to February 1, 2021 and extends anti-foreclosure protections in the Homeowner Bill of Rights to small landlords.

·     This week the public is invited to comment on a National Academy of Medicine committee report on the national SARS-CoV2 vaccination policy, commissioned by the CDC and NIH. Input from the public, especially communities disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, is essential to produce a final report that is objective, balanced, and inclusive. The Draft of the Preliminary Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine recommends a phased-in approach to vaccine distribution based on availability. The public comment period will close on Friday, September 4 at 9 pm PST.

·     The Violence Prevention Initiative Team from the California Department of Public Health released a newly developed resource in Spanish and English, “Coping with Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” This material is intended for Californian families experiencing the severe economic consequences resulting from novel coronavirus, COVID-19. It offers supportive information on ways Californians can take care of themselves and their families during the pandemic.

This Labor Day weekend we honor the contributions of laborers and workers who keep our communities running. We recognize the tradition and desire for gatherings with friends and family during the holiday weekend. We know that COVID-19 outbreaks occurred earlier this summer during these types of social gatherings. The risk is highest in enclosed spaces and when people take off their face coverings. The risk is lower when outdoors with smaller numbers of people maintaining distance and wearing face coverings. Please see this week’spress release for tips on a preventing the spread of COVID-19 during the Labor Day Weekend.

Each week we provide a digest of evolving information about COVID-19 along with emerging trends and relevant news. Have a safe and healthy holiday. We appreciate your readership.

 

Public Health Department Website
Alameda County Dashboard

 

 

State’s Blue Print for a Safer Economy Purple Tier

California rolled out a new color-coded four-tiered system called Blueprint to Safer Reopening to track counties’ prevalence of COVID-19 and guide the reopening process. The framework uses new case rates and testing positivity to determine a county’s risk of disease spread. Alameda County is in the purple tier for widespread new COVID-19 cases, defined as having more than 7 new cases per day per 100,000 residents, and will remain in this tier for a minimum of 21 days.

 

Our case rate is currently more than 9 new cases per day per 100,000 residents and testing positivity rate is 5.6%. We can move into a lower tier when we consistently have fewer than 7 new cases per day per 100,000 residents. Counties may continue to be more restrictive than the State.

 

Alignment with State on Selected Activities with Purple Tier

We carefully examined the activities permitted by the State to reopen in the Purple Tier, taking into consideration the risk, timing and cadence of additional activities as well as their downstream impact on local disease conditions that could limit future activities. Alameda County is aligning with a limited selection of the State’s Purple Tier permitted activities. See our updated Openings at a Glance list and press release for summary information. We will continue to monitor the data to guide further re-openings.

 

Schools may not open for in-person learning when a county is in the purple tier, but can accept waivers for TK-6 schools.

The Alameda County Office of Education and the Alameda County Healthcare

Services Agency is requesting school districts complete the In-Person Readiness Questionnaire to report their use of school-based small group cohorts to serve high needs students and to indicate their interest in applying for a TK-6 waiver.

The questionnaire responses will be used to plan for public health infrastructure and technical assistance needed to support safe in-person learning across Alameda County. More details will be shared in the coming weeks.

Trends in Cases and Hospitalizations

 

Case rates have stabilized and are slowly trending downward after a peak in mid-July. Hospitalization rates have stabilized after peaks in late July through August. Our goal is for cases to be flat or decreasing:

·     On August 31, there were 9.3 new cases of COVID-19 per day per 100,000 residents.

·     On September 2, there were 18,445 cumulative cases and 257 deaths.

·     On September 1, there were 162 hospitalized patients including 49 ICU patients with confirmed COVID-19.

The LEMMA COVID-19 prediction model using hospital data through August 31 estimates the median Alameda County transmission rate (Rt) to be 0.9, down from 1.1 last week and a peak of 1.24 in late June. This means each person with COVID-19 transmits the virus to 0.9 other people. If we keep the transmission rate less than 1, new cases will decrease. The California COVID Assessment Tool (Cal-CAT) uses an ensemble of 8 models, and estimates our transmission rate to be 0.99, compared to 0.89 in California overall. Our goal is to keep the transmission rate less than 1 by ensuring preventive measures are implemented and sustained in our communities and workplaces.

For help with enforcement or report violations of workplace safety orders in Alameda County, please email: [email protected]

 

Testing

 

We have conducted over 3,500 tests per day in the past week, which is above our goal of 3,100 per day. The percentage of people testing positive is 5.2%, which is within our goal of less than 8%, but varies greatly by zip code and race/ethnicity.

New testing sites opening this week/month:

·     Global Communication, Education and Arts (GCEA), will have mobile testing one day a week for the African immigrant community.

·     Eden Church in Ashland Cherryland will open mobile testing two days a week.

·     Allen Temple/Core community testing site will open 1-2 days a week for walk and drive up appointments.

·     Glad Tidings church testing site will open four days a week in September.

·     Lifelong Medical Care is testing in East Oakland at its Foothill Square site.

·     The Umoja Health Town and All Around Test event is scheduled for September 12-13 at Eastmont Mall. The event is sponsored by UCSFRoots Community Health CenterLifelong Medical CareBrotherhood of Elders/African-American Rapid Response Network, Friends of Dr. Frank Staggers, Jr., and the Oakland Frontline Healers.

The community testing sites will form a county-wide learning community to develop an updated, data-driven testing strategy to make testing more equitable.

Updated testing locations and appointment links are posted on the COVID-19 testing webpage and searchable in this interactive map of COVID-19 services. 11 community testing sites offer free tests using COVID-19 testing guidance and continues to support testing for people without symptoms who are close contacts of cases, all essential workers, those in congregate facilities and those at a higher medical risk regardless of symptoms. Our testing guidance has not changed with the CDC revisions last week.

The Alameda County Public Health Department issued a reminder this week to clinicians regarding Legionnaires’ disease and Legionella testing during COVID-19 pandemic:

·     Consider testing for Legionnaires’ disease if a patient is hospitalized with pneumonia and is negative for COVID-19 or if a patient is positive for COVID-19 and coinfection with Legionella is suspected due to exposure risk.

Case and Contact Investigation, Isolation and Quarantine
Alameda County currently has 45 staff conducting outbreak investigations, 132 trained case investigators and contact tracers, and an additional 31 in community-based organizations. The goal is to reach 300 contact tracers in the fall. Approximately 160 cases and contact interviews are completed each day and 57% of cases are reached.

The first round of proposals for the COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing services funding opportunity was received last Friday, and rolling applications are due every first and third Friday after September 1. For more information, go to Request for Qualification (RFQ) No. HCSA-900420.

Last week we launched the Alameda County Responsibility to Community Health (ARCH) Program, an economic resiliency program that provides financial assistance to self-isolating County residents in high-risk communities who have tested positive for COVID-19. For more information, please see the FAQ and press release.

Project Roomkey continues to provide isolation/quarantine housing for people living in crowded conditions or is experiencing homelessness.

Hospital Capacity and Surge Planning

As of August 31, our hospital capacity indicators are:

·     7.3% of the patients in hospital beds across Alameda County were confirmed COVID-19 positive, 15% of ICU patients were COVID-19 positive and within our goal of 50% or less.

·     37% of the staffed inpatient hospital beds and 31% of the ICU beds were available, which is within our goal of above 20%. 71% of the mechanical ventilators were available.

If your facility needs COVID-related supplies or staffing please visit the Emergency Medical Services website to request PPErequest staffing and request testing supplies.

Disparities and Equity
Updated race and ethnicity data show that Latinx people continue to face the highest case rates and Black/African American people continue to face the highest death rates.

Currently, Latinx people have 6.6 times the case rate and 1.7 the death rate compared to White people. Black/African American residents have 2.2 times the case rate and 2.8 times the death rate compared to White residents. These rates are the same this week compared to last week. Native Americans and Pacific Islanders also have 2.2 times the case rate compared to Whites. The highest case and positivity rates in Alameda County continue to be in the Fruitvale and Coliseum zip codes in East Oakland.

We look forward to reducing these disparities as we work with our community partners to focus efforts and supports in the hardest hit areas.

Did you receive the update from a colleague? Click here to join our mailing list.
Weekly Update PDF Version
Follow us @Dare2BWell