Alameda County sees decline in COVID-19 case rates, hospitalizations

Infographic about COVID-19 cases and vaccinations in Berkeley during March
Quynh Truong/Staff

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With the state of California expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and Alameda County moving into the less restrictive red tier, COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations have seen a decline in the past month.

As of Sunday, the city of Berkeley has had a total of 3,417 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 36 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the city’s COVID-19 dashboard. Additionally, 21% of city residents ages 16 and older have been fully vaccinated, with the city having administered approximately 60,000 vaccine doses.

“We have always aligned with state eligibility, and we will continue to do so,” said city spokesperson Matthai Chakko in an email.

Currently, individuals over the age of 65, at-risk populations or health care and other essential workers are eligible for vaccination in California, according to the state’s COVID-19 response website. Beginning April 1, eligibility will expand to all individuals who are at least 50 years old and by April 15, eligibility will further expand to all individuals who are 16 years old and older.

According to the city’s website, vaccinations are available at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, CVS pharmacies, Rite Aid pharmacies, Walgreens pharmacies and through health care providers.

“It’s critical to mention that the vaccine supply is very limited and distributed across many different locations. The City gets only a small portion of the supply. People who are interested in vaccination should reach out to their health care providers,” Chakko said in the email. “We encourage everyone who can to get any of the three vaccines wherever and whenever they have the opportunity.”

Since the move into the red tier, Alameda County has eased certain restrictions, allowing businesses such as movie theaters, museums and indoor dining to reopen at 25% capacity, gyms to reopen at 10% capacity, retail stores to expand to 50% capacity and grocery stores to expand to full capacity.

In addition to the fall in COVID-19 cases in the city, UC Berkeley has seen a decline in campus case rates. UC Berkeley has had a total of 1,043 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic and as of Sunday, campus has administered almost 8,000 vaccines, according to the campus’s COVID-19 dashboards.

Campus encourages people to continue following COVID-19 health guidelines and to limit traveling. In response to possible spring break traveling, campus will implement a mandatory self-sequester period for students living in residential halls, according to a campus update.

“In an effort to do everything possible to avoid another surge of COVID-19 cases after spring break, and another extended quarantine period, campus leaders have made the decision to implement a mandatory self-sequester for all students living in the residence halls including those in suites and mini-suites from March 26 through at least April 8,” the update states.

Contact Blake Evans at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @Blake_J_Evans.