Alameda County announced the launch of a free COVID-19 Public testing site that will expand testing available at the West Oakland Health Center. Scheduled to open on Wednesday, June 3 this site located at 700 Adeline Street addresses an identified need to increase access to testing in West Oakland. There are currently three testing sites within Emeryville with various testing restrictions.
The hours of operation will be Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8:30 am – 5:30 pm, and Saturdays 8:30 am – 1:00 pm. This site will remain open for four weeks.
“Alameda County’s clinics and faith-based organizations are critical partners for expanding testing in our communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alameda County District 5 Supervisor Keith Carson. “By investing in this site, we are expanding access to testing in West Oakland and making progress toward reducing COVID-19 disparities.”
Testing will be free and available to anyone with symptoms, and to any health care, front line, or essential worker even if they have no symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms cough, fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or a new loss of taste or smell.
You do not need to have insurance and you will not be asked about immigration status. Testing is by appointment only and can be made on The City of Oakland website. Additional information is available on the Alameda County Public Health website.
In the ongoing effort to address testing disparities, Alameda County is leveraging its partnerships with community-based organizations and clinics, like the West Oakland Health Council, to ensure appropriate follow-up care and resources to support isolation and quarantine.
“Our mission is to provide real solutions to health disparities in our community,” said Preston DuFauchard, CEO of West Oakland Health Council. “Increasing COVID-19 testing for community residents helps us reach part of that mission in the face of this pandemic”
“When people come together in unity, the impossible becomes possible. It is with great pleasure and excitement to see the coming together of Pastors and churches, Alameda County, the West Oakland Health Center, and the Oakland Post Newspaper — to bring awareness to the community that the West Oakland Health Center has become a testing site for the COVID-19 virus,” said Dr. Gerald Agee, Pastor for Friendship Christian Center. “Science says, testing and social distancing, are the first lines of defense against the virus. Friendship Christian Center Church, is committed to getting the word out of our new community-testing site.”
The addition of this testing site expands Alameda County locations to 31 and capacity to conduct 200 more tests per day. Sufficient testing capacity, measured against the goal of an estimated 3,100 tests per day, is critical to move the County forward on the path to reopening.
“We’re pursuing our goal of 3,100 tests per day through a multi-pronged strategy that includes supplementing testing at health care systems throughout the county, partnering with cities and community based organizations, and deploying mobile testing,” said Colleen Chawla, Director of Alameda County Health Care Services Agency. “For community-based sites like this one, we are thrilled to have the support of local faith leaders in getting the message out about the importance of testing.”
Two Bay Area companies — Color and Carbon Health — have teamed up with Alameda County to manage the operation. Color, a leading health technology company that offers COVID-19 testing and risk management programs to local governments and employers across the U.S., will provide results in 1-3 days (24 to 72 hours).
“Reliable, fast access to testing during this pandemic should be available to all,” said Color CEO Othman Laraki. “We are so glad to partner with Alameda County and West Oakland Health Clinic to expand this access to the Oakland community.”
Carbon Health, a technology-enabled healthcare provider with clinics across the Bay Area, will manage the new testing site’s clinical support.
“We are grateful for this opportunity to partner with Alameda County, the City of Oakland, and West Oakland Health Clinic to further expand access to testing in our underserved communities,” said Eren Bali, Co-founder and CEO of Carbon Health. “We believe in the strength and value of community and have recruited staff locally for this site to build a clinical team that truly understands the needs of the community. Widespread testing continues to be critical in our response to this pandemic, and our providers are proud to support this initiative to increase access where it is needed the most.”
“Our mission is to end the injustice of health disparities,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said. “Every Oaklander should have access to a free COVID-19 test today, and we will continue to work intentionally to reach our most underserved communities. I want to thank Alameda County and all of our fiercely devoted community partners who brought this service to the heart of West Oakland, as well as our trusted messengers who will deliver it to our residents.”
Increased access to testing is a cornerstone of Alameda County’s COVID-19 response strategy, which includes contact tracing to identify cases early, and health and social supports for people who need to isolate or quarantine. The County is also serving as a resource to provide much needed testing supplies to clinics, hospitals and other entities, like Skilled Nursing Facilities, that serve vulnerable populations in order to equip more sites to test effectively and support increased access.
Reverend Dwight Webster, PhD, Senior Pastor of Beth Eden Baptist Church in West Oakland said, “We are in solidarity with other churches in West Oakland, Alameda County, and the West Oakland Health Council in pursuing testing for this novel coronavirus and for the supporting of our residents, at least in part, based on words Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. uttered during a March 25, 1966 speech in Chicago for the Second National Convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights:
‘…Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death….’
This mobilization is to extend testing to Black, Brown and other communities of color and ethnicity. It is not only to flatten the COVID-19 curve, but to deflate and ultimately eliminate it. Too many have already suffered due to disparate or the lack of care across the country.”
Read the Full Press Release on acphd.org.