East Bay Getting to Zero
SARS-CoV-2 scanning electron microscope image from NIAID
The SARS-CoV-2 virus (NIAID)

Below are this week’s East Bay COVID-19 and HIV updates. This page is usually updated on Wednesday evenings with data and resources gathered from many collaborators in Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Solano County, CA state. Please click here to share feedback.


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East Bay COVID-19 updates 

On April 15 everyone ages 16 and over who lives or works in California is eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccine. Alameda County, Contra Costa County and Solano County have already expanded to everyone ages 16+ as of April 14.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccinations were paused on April 13 due to reports of 6 cases of very rare but serious blood clots. Health care providers are alerted to recognize and report cases. The CDC and FDA are investigating these cases and will make recommendations when and how to resume use of the J&J vaccine. For now, East Bay vaccination sites are using only the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which don’t have any cases of these types of clots reported. Please see more details below.

California state still aims to reopen by June 15 and move beyond the Blueprint tier system if we have enough vaccines and can keep hospitalizations low. Mask mandates will remain in place. We can get out of this pandemic if we keep up masking, distancing and getting everyone vaccinated.   

COVID-19 daily cases and hospitalizations in the Bay Area have increased in the past week, though remaining at low rates. Case rates have been increasing in other parts of the US as restrictions have loosened. As the Bay Area also reopens more in-person activities and gets more people vaccinated, we are at a critical and yet hopeful point in the pandemic.

On April 14, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties remain in the orange “moderate risk” tier of California’s reopening Blueprint framework, while Solano County remains in the red “substantial risk” tier. In the orange tier, additional indoor capacity and activities are allowed, including restaurants, bars and other riskier settings. The state is expected to allow additional activities in the orange tier starting April 15, such as expanded private gatherings and indoor live events with assigned seating.

Estimated transmission rates in the Bay Area have been below 1 since January, though have increased in the past week, and are 0.86 across California as of April 12. This may change as transmission data catches up with the reopenings. Click here to see what’s open.

SF Chronicle, 4/14/21: COVID-19 daily cases and deaths in the Bay Area. 

Johnson & Johnson vaccines and blood clots: On April 13, the FDA announced that out of the nearly 7 million Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines administered, there have been 6 cases of rare blood clots reported called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or CVST, combined with thrombocytopenia, or low platelet counts. This reported condition is very rare (less than 1 in 1 million so far). It is still unclear if and how the clots are caused by the vaccine. The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met on April 14 and is gathering more information and reviewing the cases in detail before reconvening in 7-10 days.

The cases reported so far occurred in women ages 18-48 and within 3-13 days of the vaccination. One person died, and another is in critical condition. More details can be found in this joint announcement from the FDA and CDC, a media briefing on FDA’s YouTube channel, this article from NPR and this CDC health alert.

Out of an abundance of caution, vaccination with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine has paused while the CDC ACIP investigates the cases and health care providers are alerted to recognize, treat and report new cases. We are prioritizing safety and taking the time to understand these cases and risks better before resuming vaccination with the J&J.

Vaccination sites have switched to only using the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines until further notice. There are no reports of clots with low platelet counts in the over 100 million doses of the Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccines administered in the US so far. 

What else should we do about this?

People who have received the J&J vaccine in the past 3 weeks:

  • If you develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination, contact your health care provider or seek care right away.

Health care providers and staff:

  1. Recognize symptoms of clots and low platelets: severe headache, backache, new neurologic symptoms, severe abdominal pain, shortness of breath, leg swelling, petechiae (tiny red spots on the skin), or new or easy bruising.
  2. Treat: consult a hematologist; check platelet counts and PF4 ELISA (labs for HIT), and avoid heparin to treat clots with low platelet counts (<150k/ml) in people who’ve received the J&J vaccine. Instead consider non-heparin anticoagulants (such as argatroban) and high-dose intravenous immune globulin (IVIG).
  3. Report to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System: https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html

Health providers should also know that due to the presence of low platelets in combination with the clots, heparin should be avoided and alternative treatments should be used instead. Based on studies from Europe on people developing clots after the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is also an adenovirus-vector vaccine, the pathogenesis may be related to the development of platelet-activating antibodies against the platelet-factor 4 (PF4) protein. Additional details for clinicians can be found in this CDC health alert. You can also sign up for Alameda County health alerts here.


Vaccine eligibility and access: Starting April 15, everyone ages 16 and over who lives or works in California is eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccine. Alameda County expanded eligibility the weekend of April 11, Contra Costa County expanded eligibility on March 30 and Solano County will expand to everyone ages 16+ on April 15.

There are not yet enough vaccines for everyone eligible. There are more coming. Please don’t give up- keep trying!

Click here for more on vaccine eligibility and how to get one

Vaccine phone lines for people who can’t access the internet: Alameda County has a new vaccine phone line for people who speak English, Spanish, Mandarin and cannot navigate the internet: 510-208-4VAX or 510-208-4829. Contra Costa County’s multilingual phone line is 844-729-8410 and vaccine appointment line is 1-833-829-2626. In Solano County people can call 707-784-8988. California state’s MyTurn vaccine line is 833-422-4255. Please reserve use of these phone lines for those who cannot use the internet.


What do you think about the COVID-19 vaccine? Fill out a brief (8-10 minutes) survey for the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency to help develop effective health promotion and education materials. The survey is for the general public and will be open through mid-May. Information collected is anonymous and confidential – no identifying information will be collected. Here are links to the English and Spanish language surveys.


New prevention guidance:

CDC updated guidance on cleaning and disinfection during the pandemic on April 5th to reflect the fact that there is low risk of transmission from surfaces. Cleaning with soap and water is enough in most cases, along with hand-washing and mask-wearing.

Updated guidance for people who are vaccinated:

Here is the updated CDC’s guidance for what fully vaccinated people can do:

  1. Gathering with other vaccinated people in small groups indoors and without masks,
  2. Visiting one low-risk household indoors without masks, and
  3. Masking and distancing in public spaces until more people get vaccinated.

For example, this means grandparents who received all their vaccine doses at least 2 weeks ago may visit unvaccinated low-risk children and grandchildren in one other household without masks and distancing.

CDC travel guidance for fully vaccinated people:

  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
  • If you travel internationally, find out the pandemic situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States and requirements for testing.
  • Fully vaccinated people do *not* need to self-quarantine after arriving in the US or after exposure to COVID-19 unless you live in a large group setting. 

CDC guidance for exposures to COVID-19 for fully vaccinated people:

  • The good news is that fully vaccinated people are very well protected against serious COVID-19 and infection risk is low.
  • Are you experiencing any symptoms?
    • If you don’t have any symptoms and are not in a healthcare setting or congregate living situation, you don’t have to quarantine. Just watch for symptoms for 14 days after your last exposure. If you’re in a healthcare setting, please let your supervisor know and follow workplace guidelines.
    • If you have symptoms or develop them, self-isolate and let your health care provider know about your symptoms, that you’re vaccinated and get tested (ideally PCR and sequencing to evaluate for variants with report to public health).
  • If you live in a congregate setting (e.g., correctional and detention facilities, group homes) you should quarantine for 14 days and get tested to help further reduce the risk of transmission to others in these crowded settings.
  • If you work in a congregate setting or crowded workplace (e.g., meat and poultry processing and manufacturing plants), you do not need to quarantine, but testing is recommended.

Click for more from the CDC: general guidance, travel guidance and the scientific brief. Click here for our harm reduction guidance and graphics


Increasing real-world data shows that COVID vaccines are safe and highly effective in preventing both asymptomatic and symptomatic infection. A new CDC study shows how fully vaccinated high-risk frontline workers who were tested weekly were 90% less likely to get any infection, including asymptomatic infections.

An updated analysis of clinical trial data shows that the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine continues to offer strong protection without serious safety concerns, the companies said on 4/1 in a press release. The new data also suggested that the vaccine works against a worrisome virus variant in South Africa, although more studies are needed.

Pfizer-BioNTech report that their COVID-19 vaccine shows “100% efficacy” in adolescents ages 12-15. With 2,260 adolescents participating in their trial, 18 people in the placebo group developed COVID-19 while none in the vaccinated group did. Blood antibody test data also show high titers of antibody responses in those who were vaccinated. Pfizer has submitted data to the FDA for emergency use authorization. Moderna is expected to release data and submit to the FDA soon too. Trials for children ages 6 months to 11 years old have also begun for both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 

A new study shows that mRNA vaccination boosts cross-variant neutralizing antibodies elicited by SARS-CoV-2 infection and highlights the importance of vaccinating both uninfected and previously infected persons to elicit cross-variant neutralizing antibodies.

Variants: A UCSF study found that the B1427/9 (“West Coast”) variants are about 20% more infectious than the original virus and are likely now 75-90% of cases in Northern California. Other variants of concern reported in the East Bay include the B117 (“UK”), B1351 (“South African”) and P1 (“Brazilian”) variants. The B117 variant is now the dominant variant in other parts of the US and has been linked to recent outbreaks in the Midwest during youth sporting events.

Approved vaccines are still expected to be effective against serious disease from these variants. Remember that viruses mutate when they replicate, and we can slow the rise of COVID-19 variants through masking, distancing and vaccinations. 

“Breakthrough” infections: Dr. Donata Nilsen reported on April 14 that about 80 cases among vaccinated people had been reported thus far in Alameda County, mostly asymptomatic cases picked up in surveillance screening. There have been 10 cases of reinfections reported among people previously infected in Alameda County. Variant sequencing is in process; this data is not published yet.

Health care providers are asked to report any “breakthrough” infections for people who are vaccinated or who previously had COVID-19 to the county public health departments and send lab specimens for variant sequencing. In Alameda County, send a secure email to COVIDreport@acgov.org with subject line “suspect variant” or fax to (510) 273-3944; contact the county lab for sequencing at 510-382-4300. 


People needing medical care for any condition are encouraged to seek care as our clinics and hospitals remain open with strict safety protocols to take care of all people.

You are invited to join us on Thursday, April 29, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm to strengthen HIV service collaborations. This East Bay linkage and retention network workshop will focus on strengthening our online resources and contacts to streamline warm hand-offs, rapid linkages to services. Please click here for more info and to register.


Community Vaccine Spotlights

Dr. Xaviera Ortiz of LifeLong Medical Care and Alameda Health System is happy to share that she received the COVID-19 vaccine while she was pregnant, and both she and her healthy newborn now have antibodies that protect against getting COVID-19.


Imran Merchant at UCSF and Trikone says, “Working as a front line healthcare worker, receiving the vaccine meant I was protecting myself and helping those around me. Yes, I felt the symptoms of chills and body aches but that is nothing compared to the pain of having had COVID and being hospitalized and it is nothing compared to the millions of lives lost due to COVID. Help protect yourself and your community, get vaccinated.”


Vaccine eligibility and access

Updated April 14, 2021

Who is eligible for COVID-19 vaccines?

Everyone ages 16 and over who lives or works in California is eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccine starting April 15. Vaccinations with Pfizer and Moderna vaccines continue in the East Bay while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is paused (see more details below).

There are not yet enough vaccines for everyone eligible. There are more coming. Please don’t give up- keep trying!


How do we get vaccinated?

To access vaccines, we recommend the following steps:

  1. Sign up for all the notification systems available to you: see links below.
  2. Check on your vaccine eligibility with your medical provider and/or county for when the vaccine is available for your group.
  3. When you are eligible, keep checking for available appointments:
    • Check your email for notifications and a link for appointments.
    • Check online or call your medical provider for appointment availability.
    • If you cannot get a vaccine through your health provider, check if you can get a vaccine through a public (county) vaccination site.
    • Please see below for links to medical providers and public vaccine sites.
    • Don’t give up! Keep checking and trying; eventually there will be enough vaccine.
  4. When you go to your vaccine appointment, bring with you:
    • A photo ID
    • Proof of age, home or work address
    • Appointment confirmation (printed or on phone)
    • A mask.

If you need help with transportation or are home-bound:

All COVID-19 vaccines are available at no cost. No one should be charged for the vaccine.


Notifications for when vaccine is available for you:

There is no unified notification system, so you may choose to sign up for many different notification systems to stay informed about the full breadth of vaccination opportunities available to you:

Vaccine phone lines: please reserve for people who cannot use the internet.

  • Alameda County: 510-208-4VAX or 510-208-4829 (English, Español, 中文)
  • Contra Costa County: 844-729-8410 or 833-829-2626 (vaccine appointments)
  • Solano County: 707-784-8988
  • California state’s MyTurn vaccine line: 833-422-4255  

Vaccines through medical providers:

Vaccines for the public at mass vaccination sites:

  • Oakland Coliseum: for residents and workers in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. Click here for the MyTurn webpage to check appointment availability. Toll-free phone line: 833-422-4255.
    • Both drive-through and walk-up appointments are available.
    • Appointment slots are added as supplies come in, starting in the early morning, so keep checking for availability if you first don’t succeed.   
    • Until April 11, this site was run by FEMA and CA state emergency services and received its own vaccine supply.
    • After April 11, Alameda County, Contra Costa County and CA State is running this site through May 9 with additional state vaccine supply. Appointments are limited to Alameda and Contra Costa residents or workers.
    • After May 9, Alameda County plans to continue the site for Alameda County residents.
  • Alameda Fairgrounds: for Alameda County residents. Click here for appointment info. 
  • The Berkeley Golden Gate Fields Buchanan parking lot site is open for people living in northern Alameda County. More info from Berkeleyside can be found here.

Vaccines through pharmacies:

Vaccines through community pop-ups:

Vaccines through county vaccination sites:

Vaccine appointments may still be difficult to access due to limited and uneven vaccine supplies, a fragmented health care system, and a confusing eligibility system. Keep checking and trying, and you will eventually get a vaccine appointment.


What vaccines are currently available?

We have three authorized vaccines available: the Pfizer and Moderna two-dose vaccines and the Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) one-dose vaccine. All three authorized vaccines are highly protective, especially against severe disease, and 100% effective in clinical trials against hospitalization and death.

Johnson & Johnson vaccines and blood clots: On April 13, the FDA announced that out of the nearly 7 million Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines administered, there have been 6 cases of rare blood clots reported called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or CVST, combined with thrombocytopenia, or low platelet counts. This reported condition is very rare (less than 1 in 1 million so far). It is still unclear if and how the clots are caused by the vaccine. The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met on April 14 and is gathering more information and reviewing the cases in detail before reconvening in 7-10 days.

The cases reported so far occurred in women ages 18-48 and within 3-13 days of the vaccination. One person died, and another is in critical condition. More details can be found in this joint announcement from the FDA and CDC, a media briefing on FDA’s YouTube channel, this article from NPR and this CDC health alert.

Out of an abundance of caution, vaccination with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine has paused while the CDC ACIP investigates the cases and health care providers are alerted to recognize, treat and report new cases. We are prioritizing safety and understanding these cases and risks before resuming vaccination with the J&J.

Vaccination sites have switched to only using the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines until further notice. There are no reports of clots with low platelet counts in the over 100 million doses of the Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccines administered in the US so far. 

What else should we do about this?

People who have received the J&J vaccine in the past 3 weeks:

  • If you develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination, contact your health care provider or seek care right away.

Health care providers and staff:

  1. Recognize symptoms of clots and low platelets: severe headache, backache, new neurologic symptoms, severe abdominal pain, shortness of breath, leg swelling, petechiae (tiny red spots on the skin), or new or easy bruising.
  2. Treat: consult a hematologist; check platelet counts and PF4 ELISA (labs for HIT), and avoid heparin to treat clots with low platelet counts (<150k/ml) in people who’ve received the J&J vaccine. Instead consider non-heparin anticoagulants (such as argatroban) and high-dose intravenous immune globulin (IVIG).
  3. Report to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System: https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html

Health providers should also know that due to the presence of low platelets in combination with the clots, heparin should be avoided and alternative treatments should be used instead. Based on studies from Europe on people developing clots after the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is also an adenovirus-vector vaccine, the pathogenesis may be related to the development of platelet-activating antibodies against the platelet-factor 4 (PF4) protein. Additional details for clinicians can be found in this CDC health alert from April 13 and this ACIP slide deck from April 14. You can also sign up for Alameda County health alerts here.

Vaccines for ages 16-17: Currently only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for use in people ages 16-17. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved in people ages 18 and over. Due to Pfizer vaccine’s ultra-cold storage requirements, not all vaccination sites provide the Pfizer vaccine. In Alameda County, Children’s Hospital Oakland, Kaiser, Sutter, Stanford vaccination sites offer the Pfizer vaccine for 16-17 year olds.

Here is an infographic from Alameda County showing the 3 available vaccines. Clinical trials show that while they were not compared in trials head-to-head, they are all safe and highly effective. 


What do you think about the COVID-19 vaccine? Fill out a brief (8-10 minutes) survey for the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency to help develop effective health promotion and education materials. The survey is for the general public and will be open through mid-May. Information collected is anonymous and confidential – no identifying information will be collected. Here are links to the English and Spanish language surveys.


People living with HIV and COVID-19 vaccines

All people living with HIV (PLWH) are recommended to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The approved vaccines are not live vaccines and are considered safe for people living with HIV regardless of CD4 count. A diagnosis of HIV alone, regardless of immune status, is not one of the qualifying medical conditions for vaccines under the California’s vaccine guidelines listed here. There is emerging data that people living with HIV and CD4 counts less than 200 are at greater risk for hospitalizations and death, so consider prioritizing outreach, education and vaccinations for this potentially more-at-risk group. 

The Moderna vaccine trial included 179 PLWH and the Pfizer trial included 196 PLWH but data on these sub-groups has not been reported separately. There is currently no recommendation to check antibody levels for people living with HIV after completing vaccination. We are not sure yet how much commercially available SARS-CoV2 antibody tests such as at Quest and LabCorp check for protective levels of neutralizing spike antibodies generated by the vaccines, but providers and patients may discuss checking for spike IgG antibody levels two or more weeks after the second vaccine dose while we await more data.

Resources for PLWH and COVID-19 vaccines: UNAIDS infosheet on COVID-19 vaccines and HIV, Clinical FAQs with Dr. Paul Sax at Harvard and The New England Journal of Medicine, Clinical FAQs for people living with HIV from HIVMA (PDF), Guidance for talking with patients and FAQs for PLWH from Alameda Health Systems (PDF).


Help the vaccine roll-out effort!


Disparities data and studies

CDPH CA State COVID-19 dashboard 4/7/21: Latinx and Black/African American Californians continue to be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. 
Deaths among our elders are declining: Data from Alameda County skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) show the huge positive impact of vaccinations. Among the first 26 SNFs to have their residents vaccinated, there were 173 resident deaths in 2020 and none so far in 2021. The single hospitalization in 2021 is said to be in a resident who had not yet gotten vaccinated at the time of hospitalization.

Alameda County vaccination rates by race/ethnicity as of April 7 show that Latinx, Black/African American and Asian residents are less likely to have been vaccinated compared to White residents. However, there is a large number of people for whom race/ethnicity is not recorded, and some data suggests that a large proportion of those people are Latinx.


The pie charts above show how Latinx and Black residents in Alameda County have lower vaccination rates and higher hospitalization and death rates as a percentage of the population.


Anti-Asian violence has risen across the US during the pandemic, including a shooting in the Atlanta area on March 16 during which a 21 year old white man, Robert Aaron Long, killed 8 people at massage parlors, 6 of whom were Asian women. The group Stop AAPI Hate has recorded 3,795 hate incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, with women victimized at more than twice the rate of men.

Xiaojie Tan, 49; and Daoyou Feng, 44; Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; and Paul Andre Michels, 54, died at Young’s Asian Massage. Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, was injured in the shooting. Soon C. Park, 74; Hyun J. Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; and Yong A. Yue, 63 died in shootings at the other two massage parlors. We recognize the people who should be alive today as we work towards justice with our Asian community members. This is a healing practice learned from Black women in their struggle against white supremacy and police brutality against Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples, and all people of color. 


Harm reduction tips and resources

Here is the updated CDC’s guidance for what fully vaccinated people can do:

  1. Gathering with other vaccinated people in small groups indoors and without masks,
  2. Visiting one low-risk household indoors without masks, and
  3. Masking and distancing in public spaces until more people get vaccinated.

For example, this means grandparents who received all their vaccine doses at least 2 weeks ago may visit unvaccinated low-risk children and grandchildren in one other household without masks and distancing.

CDC travel guidance for fully vaccinated people:

  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
  • If you travel internationally, find out the pandemic situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States and requirements for testing.
  • Fully vaccinated people do *not* need to self-quarantine after arriving in the US or after exposure to COVID-19 unless you live in a large group setting. 

CDC guidance for exposures to COVID-19 for fully vaccinated people:

  • The good news is that fully vaccinated people are very well protected against serious COVID-19 and infection risk is low.
  • Are you experiencing any symptoms?
    • If you don’t have any symptoms and are not in a healthcare setting or congregate living situation, you don’t have to quarantine. Just watch for symptoms for 14 days after your last exposure. If you’re in a healthcare setting, please let your supervisor know and follow workplace guidelines.
    • If you have symptoms or develop them, self-isolate and let your health care provider know about your symptoms, that you’re vaccinated and get tested (ideally PCR and sequencing to evaluate for variants with report to public health).
  • If you live in a congregate setting (e.g., correctional and detention facilities, group homes) you should quarantine for 14 days and get tested to help further reduce the risk of transmission to others in these crowded settings.
  • If you work in a congregate setting or crowded workplace (e.g., meat and poultry processing and manufacturing plants), you do not need to quarantine, but testing is recommended.

Click for more from the CDC: general guidance, travel guidance and the scientific brief. Click here for our harm reduction guidance and graphics

Promising real-world vaccination data is showing signs that vaccinated people have lower likelihood of transmitting the virus to others. Studies in real-world high risk settings show that vaccinated people are less likely to get asymptomatic infection (90% less in this study and this study) and lower viral loads when infected (4x decreases). In turn, lower viral loads and less asymptomatic infection are linked to less viral spread. 

Maximizing mask protection

With evidence of more infectious variants circulating in the East Bay, we may be wondering if we should increase our prevention efforts.

Wearing two masks on top of each other (double-masking) and 3+ layered masks can provide more protection so long as you can keep them tight on your face. A new mask study by the CDC demonstrates that tight-fitting multilayered masks and double-masking can decrease exposure to aerosols by up to 95%.

Before you go out, please make sure your mask set up is comfortable and breathable enough to keep on your face! No matter how many layers a mask has, it will not be useful if you can’t keep it covering your nose and mouth.

Here are the qualities that make masks more protective, which we recommend using in indoor public settings (see higher/highest risk settings in our infographic below):

  • Use tightly-woven fabric or non-woven material, like in surgical masks.
  • Use multiple layers:
    • 2 layers provide decent protection and 3 or more layers provide maximal protection.
    • A non-woven layer, such as a disposable surgical-type mask or filter layer can help repel droplets.
    • You can double-mask by using a fitted cloth mask with a disposable surgical-type mask, like in the diagram.
    • Consider adding a face shield and/or goggles in the highest risk settings.
  • Make it fit tight:
    • Use tight/snug cloth masks.
    • Reduce top gaps by using masks with adjustable nose wires.
    • Reduce gaps in ear loop masks by tying knots near the sides. (video here)
    • Make sure the mask has a tight seal all around, over your nose, sides of your mouth and under your chin.
    • In high risk work settings, get fit-tested for an N95 mask (the gold standard in protective masks).
    • Keep in mind that KN95 masks are not fit-tested and are less protective than N95 masks. Treat them like surgical masks.

References: Diagrams from Maximizing Fit for Cloth and Medical Procedure Masks to Improve Performance and Reduce SARS-CoV-2 Transmission and Exposure, 2021 by the CDC COVID-19 Emergency Response Team and …Importance of Face Masks for COVID-19 by Monica Gandhi and Linsey C. Marr. Scientific references for these masking tips are located here.

Our updated COVID-19 prevention and harm reduction infographic is available and printable in English and Spanish! Please download them here in English and here in Spanish and share with your clients, coworkers, friends and family! To download printable PDF versions, click here for the PDF in English and click here for the PDF in Spanish


The SF Community Clinic Consortium developed this HIV clinic reopening guidance document which clinic teams might find helpful around specific considerations for PLWH.   

Table summarizing COVID-19 harm reduction strategies
Our summary of COVID prevention research is constantly updated with new studies. 

To slow the spread of COVID-19 when we’re in public:

  • Wear masks and glasses,
  • Stay outdoors whenever possible,
  • Avoid crowds and maintain at least six feet distance from others,
  • Sanitize or wash hands frequently,
  • Stay home when sick, and
  • Get vaccinated when it’s our turn!

Free COVID testing sites: Click here for Alameda County, Contra Costa County and Solano County testing sites.


HIV updates

CROI 2021 Virtual, one of the top international scientific HIV/AIDS conferences, took place on March 6-10. Highlights include studies showing:

  • Integrase inhibitor regimens (bictegravir, dolutegravir) were better tolerated than non-INSTI regimens and had high viral suppression rates even with transmitted resistance and extensive NRTI resistance, though also associated with greater weight gain;
  • Dolutegravir and TAF were safe and effective in pregnancy; and
  • CAB for PrEP: HPTN 083 and 084 found CAB-LA to be more effective than F/TDF (Truvada) as PrEP among MSM, trans- and cis-gender women but not currently cost-effective compared to F/TDF, so should be priced to compete with generic F/TDF. 
  • HIV medical visits and viral load testing dropped during the pandemic as many of you know; demographic disparities highlight the important work that you all do engaging people back into care.   

Want to learn more about the new studies presented at CROI? Here are some good online resources:

In other HIV-related news, a new study on same-day PrEP for people at risk for HIV in Uganda and Kenya led by a UCSF-Ugandan/Kenyan collaboration showed that same-day PrEP lowered HIV incidence by 74%. These findings support our efforts in the East Bay for same-day PrEP access.

A long-term study from the D:A:D cohort shows that immediate ART slightly reduced cancer risk among persons with HIV. Dr. Carlos del Rio writes, “About 80 persons would have to initiate ART immediately after diagnosis to prevent 1 person from developing cancer over 10 years. These data confirm that immediate treatment equals prevention — not only of HIV transmission, but also of associated cancer.”

National HIV antiretroviral therapy guidelines have been updated to include guidance on using the first complete long-acting injectable antiretroviral (ARV) regimen, cabotegravir and rilpivirine (Cabenuva), as an option to replace the current ARV regimen in adults with HIV. Click here to read the full Recommendation for the Long-Acting Injectable Antiretroviral Regimen of Cabotegravir and Rilpivirine. Here is a fact sheet on using Cabenuva in Ryan White clinics.


Other updates and opportunities:

Jobs, Internships, Scholarships and more:

  • HIV Education and Prevention Project of Alameda County (HEPPAC) provides comprehensive risk reduction services in the Alameda County community, syringe exchange program for the city of Oakland and the county of Contra Costa, a drop-in Center that provides basic needs services and HIV/Hepatitis C antibody testing and counseling services. HEPPAC is looking for a Programs Manager to provide leadership to the organization’s efforts and Implement, evaluate and monitor programs activities. Learn more about the position here.
     
  • California Department of Public Health is recruiting for a Senior Environmental Exposure Scientist. The job is open to applicants until April 9. You can find more information here.
     
  • The City of Berkeley is looking to fill multiple positions. See the list of open positions here.
     
  • The Young Women’s Freedom Center works with cis and trans young women, trans young men, and gender-expansive young people who have been disproportionately impacted by incarceration and juvenile and criminal justice systems, and/or the underground street economy, to create positive change in their lives and communities.  YWFC is expanding their work into Contra Costa County and are looking for a Contra Costa County Project Coordinator. Learn more about the work and position here.
     
  • Californians for Justice is a statewide youth-powered organization fighting for racial justice. They have multiple positions open that are location-flexible: Bookkeeper, Capacity Building Manager, Operations & HR Manager, Strategic Partnerships Director.
     
  • Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization. As part of Equality California Institute’s commitment to building the bench of LGBTQ+ appointed and elected leaders at all levels of government and business throughout the state, they are offering the Equality California Institute Leadership Academy. Interested individuals can learn more about the opportunity and apply here.

Funding opportunities: 

  • Akonadi Foundation’s So Love Can Win Fund provides general support grants of $10,000 to Oakland’s organizers, storytellers, culture bearers, and healers who seek to ignite and implement a radical collective vision of freedom and racial justice. A total of $500,000 will be disbursed in two rounds. Round 1 will open on March 15, 2021 and close on May 1, 2021.  Round 2 will open on July 1, 2021 and close on September 1, 2021. Learn more and apply here.

Youth opportunities:

  • Youth Together is an Oakland-based organization that provides youth leadership programming, student centers, and campaigns at five local high schools to develop positive, long-term solutions to fight social, political, community, and educational inequities in their lives, serving as a model for empowering change in other communities. Youth Together is hosting their first virtual Youth Conference 2021: Building the Future with Youth Together – Breaking Cycles, Building Power on April 17th. Youth can learn more and register here
     
  • Oakland Unified School District is committed to being a sanctuary for all students. To this end, OUSD is calling for student artists to create their own posters, for a chance to win prizes and have their poster be printed and distributed to schools throughout Oakland. Submissions are due by April 15th, 2021. OUSD students can learn more about the opportunity here.

Web events:

  • HRSA is hosting two virtual listening sessions on the barriers and facilitators to achieving the goals of the Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative in the Pacific Region (Region 9).
    • – April 13, 2021, 11:30 am-1 pm PT – Public Health Leaders/Officials: this session will be for public health leaders (staff from state or local health departments and regional AETCs) from EHE-funded jurisdictions in the Pacific region.
    • Register here in advance for this meeting. HRSA will approve your participation once you register.
    • April 15, 2021, 10:30 am-12 pm PT – Community Members: this session will be a Community Member Listening Session open to all. People living with HIV, public health leaders, stakeholders from organizations currently implementing HIV prevention and care programs and other community-based organizations, and staff from federally qualified health centers in the Pacific region are encouraged to participate.
    • Register here in advance for this meeting. Automatic approval once you register.
  • PRC (formerly Positive Resource Center) has been helping those affected by HIV/AIDS, substance use, or mental health issues for decades. Services include emergency financial assistance for short-term security; legal representation for access to basic income and healthcare benefits; and residential treatment, supportive housing, and employment training for longer-term social rehabilitation. PRC is holding a virtual workshop on “Working While Receiving Disability Benefits” workshop on Thursday, April 29, 2021, 10 am – 12 pm. Learn more about the event and register here.

Other resources:

  • La Clinica’s TRUCHA program is offering free food and groceries every Wednesday from 1-3pm. Call 510-535-4211 for more information.
  • Rent assistance is available to residents of various East Bay cities including Oakland, Hayward, Fremont and Emeryville through Bay Area Community Services’ Keep Everyone Housed Program. To learn more and apply, click here.
  • UCSF, SFSU, Roots Community Health Center and Streetwyze are partnering on a new research project funded by the California Breast Cancer Research Program. This project is about understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic and shelter-in-place policies affect individuals and their communities within Alameda, Contra Costa and SF counties, as well as understanding what local resources are important and useful at this time. They are looking to recruit participants who are 18+, speak English or Spanish, have access to a digital device, and live in one of the counties listed above. All participants will receive up to $50 in e-gift cards. For questions, reach out to Aekta Shah (510-473-5711; aekta@streetwyze.com) or Tessa Cruz (510-473-5711; tcruz@streetwyze.com). You can access and complete the consent form here.

HIV services during COVID-19: Click here for Contra Costa HIV services and see our online directory for Alameda County HIV services.

If your organization is in Alameda County and needs COVID-related supplies or staffing, please go to the Emergency Medical Services website to request PPE and testing supplies and request staffing.

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A note about this webpage: COVID and HIV practice-changing updates will be posted on this page, usually weekly on Wednesday evenings. New studies will be continuously added to our summary of COVID-19 harm reduction strategies. The emailed HIV+COVID-19 update newsletters are sent monthly on third Wednesdays.

Official Alameda County COVID-19 weekly updates are accessible on the county website and will not longer be posted on this page. You can sign up to receive the Alameda County weekly COVID-19 newsletter by emailing Jamie.Yee@acgov.org



Looking for COVID-19 testing?

  • Alameda County COVID testing sites: This webpage includes community-based sites offering free testing for anyone with symptoms, including people without health insurance.
  • Contra Costa County free drive-through or walk-in COVID testing
  • Solano County free testing sites
  • Please check the listing for updates and call the testing site before you leave your home/shelter/camp/car to make sure they are open for testing, you are eligible, and register if needed.
  • If you don’t have a provider and have COVID symptoms: In Alameda County, call Alameda Health System 510-437-8500 for a phone screen and guidance. In Contra Costa County, call 844-729-8410. In Solano County, the county COVID warmline is 707-784-8988.
  • If you’re having difficulty breathing and unstable, please go to your nearest emergency room.