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.
- Key East Bay COVID-19 updates
- Vaccine access; updates on the J&J and other vaccines; vaccines for people living with HIV
- Disparities data and studies
- Harm reduction: prevention for vaccinated people and masks
- HIV updates
- Jobs, funding, training opportunities and other resources
- COVID testing and other top links
East Bay COVID-19 updates
Everyone ages 16 and over in the US is eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of insurance and documentation status. Vaccine supply in the East Bay is now plentiful for the three authorized vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Appointments are available the same day at MyTurn.ca.gov, including the Pfizer vaccine for 16-17-year-olds. Click here for more on vaccine eligibility and how to get one.
The FDA is expected to authorize the Pfizer vaccine for 12–15-year-olds in the coming week. Pfizer plans to submit authorization requests for children ages 2-11 in September. Moderna has been studying its vaccine in children ages 6 months to 18 years and is also expected to release some results soon.
The East Bay’s Alameda and Contra Costa counties have given at least one vaccine dose over 70% of residents 16+ and have fully vaccinated over 40%. Vaccination rates have slowed after a peak in mid-April. President Biden aims to have 70% of adults in the US get at least one dose by July 4. While many Bay Area counties have already reached that goal overall, vaccination rates are uneven across communities and counties. Solano County’s first-dose vaccination rate is still at 58%. To get everyone else eligible vaccinated, we are ramping up the ground game and shifting from mass vaccination sites to smaller, existing community-based sites. The Oakland Coliseum has given over 500,000 vaccine doses and will close on May 23. Let’s get out the vax!
COVID-19 daily cases and hospitalizations in the Bay Area have stabilized at low rates, thanks to people getting vaccinated, masking and distancing. The spring wave in other parts of the US is subsiding. Alameda County reports outbreak clusters involving unvaccinated young adults and teens in recently reopened activities. Nationwide children represented 22% of the new COVID cases during the last week of April, with outbreaks seen mostly in indoor sports activities. Hopefully having the vaccine authorized and available starting next week for kids as young as 12 years old will help reduce the types of outbreaks.
Worldwide there have been record high cases and devastating outbreaks in India and parts of South America. There is growing discussion among public health experts that we may not reach herd immunity due to the constant rise of new variants and the slow pace of vaccinations worldwide. A more realistic aim will be protecting the most vulnerable and making COVID-19 a more manageable infection. On May 5, President Biden announced support for the World Trade Organizations’ proposed waiver of patent protections to make COVID-19 vaccines more available worldwide. We are at a critical point in the pandemic where we need to help each other to win the race between vaccines and variants.
On May 5, 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. Estimated transmission rates in the Bay Area increased in late March and are below 1 again, and are 0.88 across California as of May 3. Click here to see what’s open and click here to download updated CA in-person activity guidance.
As of May 5:
- Alameda County: orange tier week 6
- Contra Costa County: orange tier week 5
- Solano County: red tier week 9
Beastmode and Dr. Fauchizzi: Marshawn Lynch, AKA Beastmode recorded a conversation about COVID-19 vaccines with Dr. Anthony Fauci, AKA “Dr. Fauchizzi,” covering concerns Black people might have about the virus and getting vaccinated. Marshawn Lynch shares how “I want to see my people last long, not come in last.” And how we have to “meet the Black and Brown community where they are.” Click here to watch the recording on YouTube.
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 May 30. Information collected is anonymous and confidential – no identifying information will be collected. Here are links to the English and Spanish language surveys. Additional languages are forthcoming.
New in COVID-19 testing:
Rapid COVID-19 antigen home tests are now available: The BinaxNow antigen home self-test, retailing at 2 tests for $23.99 is now sold at pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens, Walmart) and online retailers nationwide. The 15-minute test checks for current infection only and is done with a nasal swab, with results showing on a card. Additional antigen tests will be on sale soon too. The CDC has guidance on what individuals should do following a negative or positive at-home test.
New prevention guidance:
California updated its outdoor mask guidance on May 3 to match CDC guidance that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in uncrowded outdoor settings. These include when walking, running, hiking or biking alone, or with members of their household; or if they attend small outdoor gatherings. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their last vaccine dose. Since many people are still unvaccinated, masks should still be worn in crowded outdoor events such as festivals, performances, parades and sports events as well as indoor public spaces. For more CDC guidance for fully vaccinated people, click here.
California state released new, more lenient requirements for gatherings, both informal social gatherings as well as more formal events. Click here to download the CA Blueprint requirements on gatherings and business reopenings.
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. No more deep cleaning! Cleaning with soap and water is enough in most cases, along with hand-washing and mask-wearing.
Increasing real-world data shows that COVID vaccines are safe and highly effective in preventing both asymptomatic and symptomatic infection.
The CDC has reported data showing that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to be 94% effective at preventing hospitalization in fully vaccinated adults 65+ and 64% effective among partially vaccinated adults 65+ starting 2 weeks after the first dose. There was no significant protection within the first 14 days of the first dose, highlighting the importance of continuing masking, distancing and avoiding crowds at least during the 2 weeks following the first dose.
A 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, which is expected to be approved in early May. 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.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations in pregnant and lactating people appear to be safe so far: Findings from a study of pregnant participants in the v-safe post-vaccine surveillance system revealed no clear safety issues from either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. 35,691 v-safe participants identified as pregnant, and 3958 participants enrolled in the v-safe pregnancy registry. Calculated proportions of pregnancy and neonatal outcomes appeared similar to incidences published in other peer reviewed literature. These findings add to data from an ongoing cohort study of pregnant and lactating people which found robust antibody titers in all groups, along with antibodies in umbilical cord blood and breast milk samples.
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”) and B1351 (“South African”) variants. The P1 (“Brazilian”) variant has been identified in at least 2 Alameda County cases. The B1351(“South African”) variant has been identified in at least 4 Alameda County cases. The B117 variant is now the dominant variant in other parts of the US and has been linked to outbreaks in the Midwest during youth sporting events.
Approved vaccines are still expected to be effective against serious disease from these variants. Pfizer and Moderna are developing booster shots including variants, which are expected to be available by fall 2021. A booster within the first year and annual boosters after may be needed to sustain sufficient protection against the SARS2 virus and future 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. Nick Moss reported that that have been about 150 COVID-19 cases among vaccinated people (so-called “breakthrough” infections) reported in Alameda County as of May 5, with 70 cases who are symptomatic. There have been no hospitalizations or deaths reported thus far due to COVID-19 among people who are fully vaccinated in Alameda County. As of April 28, there were 12 cases of reinfections reported among people previously infected in Alameda County. Variant sequencing data has not been reported yet. Nationwide “breakthrough” case data is available on the CDC website here.
Dr. Stephen Parodi of Kaiser Permanente reported on April 14: “We’ve given in Northern California over a million and half doses now. Of the people who are fully vaccinated, we’ve seen a total of one case get hospitalized. That’s encouraging.”
Health care providers are asked to report symptomatic “breakthrough” infections for people who are vaccinated or who previously had COVID-19 to the county public health departments (without a positive RNA PCR or antigen test within the previous 90 days) 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. To submit respiratory specimens to the county lab for sequencing, call 510-382-4300, email at email@example.com, or download the submittal form from the ACPHL website.
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.
Vaccine access and updates
Updated May 5, 2021
Vaccines are plentiful and widely available in the East Bay. Appointments and walk-ups are available the same day at many sites, including for the Pfizer vaccine for 16-17 year olds. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are all available. Make an appointment today at MyTurn.ca.gov or with your medical provider!
The FDA is expected to authorize the Pfizer vaccine for 12–15-year-olds in the coming week.
How do we get a vaccine?
- Check for an available appointment:
- Go to MyTurn.ca.gov to make appointments at public sites and pharmacies across California.
- Or go to your medical provider‘s website (click for: Kaiser, Sutter, Stanford) or call them. Click for community health center links below.
- Additional options:
- When you go to your vaccine appointment, bring:
- A photo ID
- Proof of age, home or work address
- Appointment confirmation (printed or on phone)
- A mask.
Vaccine phone lines:
- Alameda County: 510-208-4VAX or 510-208-4829 (English, Español, 中文)
- Contra Costa County: 833-829-2626
- Solano County: 707-784-8988
- California state’s MyTurn vaccine line: 833-422-4255
More info – Jump to:
- Transportation resources and vaccines for home-bound people
- Links to medical providers, community pop-ups, county sites
- J&J vaccine updates and additional information on vaccines
- Vaccines for people living with HIV
- What you can do when you’re fully vaccinated
- Resources in multiple languages and Frequently Asked Questions
- Community spotlights: East Bay vaccine testimonials
If you need help with transportation or are home-bound:
- Go to MyTurn.ca.gov and click on “yes” under “I need help with transportation” when you register.
- Click here for an overview of paratransit options in Alameda County.
- East Bay Paratransit is now offering transportation to and from vaccination sites and a briefer, streamlined eligibility process to apply for services. Click here or call 510-287-5000 for more information.
- Home-bound people in Alameda County: to sign up for in-home vaccination, please complete the vaccine registration form on this webpage. If you are not able to use the internet form, please call 510-208-4829. Alameda County began home vaccinations on April 26.
- Home-bound people in Contra Costa County: request a home vaccination from the mobile team.
Vaccines through medical providers:
- Kaiser members
- Sutter members
- Stanford Health members
- Many community health centers are providing vaccine appointments for all community members:
Vaccines for the public at mass vaccination sites:
- Oakland Coliseum: for residents and workers in Alameda Counties until May 23. Click here for the MyTurn webpage to check appointment availability. Toll-free phone line: 833-422-4255.
- Only drive-through appointments are available.
- 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.
- May 9 to 23, Alameda County plans to continue the site in partnership with Carbon Health for Alameda County residents.
- Walk-up appointments will discontinue after May 9 due to under-utilization. Other community-based walk-up locations are in development.
- Alameda Fairgrounds in Pleasanton: for Alameda County residents. Click here for appointment info.
- The Buchanan site in Albany is open for people living in northern Alameda County.
Vaccines through pharmacies:
Vaccines through community pop-ups:
- Umoja Vaccine: United in Health Oakland: see flyer
- Hotline: call 1-888-763-0007 and leave a phone number.
- Fremont High School: Appointments and drop-in available for persons ages 18 and older. Hours of operation are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 8 am-4 pm. To make an appointment call (510) 208-4829.
- City of Refuge United Church of Christ
- Unity Council in the Fruitvale, East Oakland
Vaccines through county vaccination sites:
- Alameda County COVID-19 vaccine access
- Get an appointment: bit.ly/AlCoSignUp
- Getting a Vaccine in Alameda County flyer: English | Spanish | Arabic | Chinese (Simplified) | Vietnamese
- Vaccinations for people experiencing homelessness
- City of Berkeley vaccine notifications: click here to register
- Contra Costa County COVID-19 vaccine access
- Click here to make an appointment or call 1-833-829-2626.
- To bring equity-related concerns to Contra Costa County’s attention, click here.
Vaccines are now readily available with plentiful supply with choices for the Pfizer, Moderna or J&J vaccines.
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.
- See how the authorized vaccines work: download PDF infographics from the CDC –
Here is an infographic from Alameda County showing the 3 available vaccines. Clinical trials show that they are all safe and highly effective.
Johnson & Johnson vaccines and blood clots:
On April 23, after a 10-day pause, the CDC voted to resume vaccinations with the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine for people ages 18+ because the benefits far outweigh the risks of very rare blood clots. Meeting slides and data updates discussed at the April 23rd CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meeting can be downloaded here. Read the detailed CDC process, analysis and recommendations on the J&J vaccine here.
Click here for J&J updates from California state and fact sheets in multiple languages.
More background, data and clinical guidance:
The CDC and FDA paused J&J vaccinations on April 13 because there had been 6 cases of rare and serious blood clots reported called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or CVST, combined with thrombocytopenia, or low platelet counts, out of the nearly 7 million doses adminstered. The pause provided time for health providers to be alerted and identify and treat more cases and gather more information. On April 23rd the CDC voted to resume vaccinations with the original approval for people ages 18 and over. This condition is now called the thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) following Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Sarah Oliver of the CDC presented a brilliant analysis of risks and benefits which showed that by resuming J&J vaccinations for all people ages 18+, while there might be 24-45 cases of this rare clotting syndrome, there would be 800 to 3,500 fewer ICU admissions due to COVID-19 and 600-1,400 fewer deaths due to COVID-19. Based on this analysis far more lives would be saved compared estimated number of cases of the rare clotting syndrome.
The first 6 cases of these rare clots reported in the US 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. For women ages 20-50 years, this is higher than the background rate for CVST. Since April 13, 9 more cases of rare clots with low platelets have been reported for a total of 15 cases, all of which have been in women, 13 cases in women ages 18-49, 2 cases in women ages 50+ and 3 deaths. The weekend after ACIP lifted the pause, UCSF reported a case of the rare clot in a Bay Area man. More details can be found in this CDC health alert, slides with case and data updates from the April 23 CDC ACIP meeting and in this April 30 CDC MMWR article summarizing the ACIP J&J vaccine recommendations.
On April 20, the European Medicines Agency announced that the risks of the clots are “very rare” and that the overall benefits of the J&J vaccine “outweigh the risks of side effects.”
There are no reports of these rare types of clots with low platelet counts in the over 220 million doses of the Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccines administered so far.
To put the risk of these clots in perspective:
- 1-2 in 1 million people have had clots and low platelets after the J&J vaccine
- 5-6 in 1 million hospitalized with COVID-19 have had the CVST clot
- 8-10 in 1 million have had clots with low platelets after the AstraZeneca vaccine
- 15-28 in 1 million develop the CVST clot each year
- 30 in 1 million have died from COVID-19 in the US
- 200 in 1 million have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in the US
- 1,000-2,000 in 1 million develop clots each year from air travel, birth control pills, injury and immobility (learn more about clots here)
What should we do about this?
People who have received the J&J vaccine in the past month:
- If you develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within a month after vaccination, contact your health care provider and seek care right away.
Health care providers and staff:
- 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.
- Evaluate and treat: consult a hematologist; check platelet counts, PF4 ELISA (labs for HIT) and platelet activation assay; 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). The American Society of Hematology (ASH) has released guidance for diagnosis and clinical management and the CDC presented Pathogenesis and Management of Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS).
- Report within 24 hours to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System:https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html
- Alameda County providers should also email a copy of the VAERS report and the VAERS report number to COVIDreport@acgov.org.
Heparin and platelet transfusions should be avoided and alternative anticoagulant treatments should be used along with IVIG. Based on studies from Europe on people developing clots after the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is also an adenovirus-vector vaccine, the leading theory of pathogenesis is related to the development of platelet-activating autoantibodies against the platelet-factor 4 (PF4) protein.
Additional clinical guidance:
- CDC: Pathogenesis and Management of Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) released April 23.
- UCSF COVID-19 Grand Rounds (recorded April 22): Dr. Andrew Leavitt discusses how to recognize and treat vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (about 43 minutes in, after a great talk with Dr. John Moore about the vaccine).
- American Society of Hematology (ASH) guidance for diagnosis and clinical management released April 16.
- CDC clinical health alert released April 13.
- ACIP slide deck from April 14.
- 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, Coliseum, Buchanan, Kaiser, Sutter, Stanford, and Children’s Hospital Oakland vaccination sites offer the Pfizer vaccine for 16-17 year olds.
Vaccines for children under 16: The FDA is expected to authorize the Pfizer vaccine for 12–15-year-olds in early May. Pfizer plans to submit authorization requests for children ages 2-11 in September. Moderna has been studying its vaccine in children ages 6 months to 18 years and is also expected to release some results soon.
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 May 30. Information collected is anonymous and confidential – no identifying information will be collected. Here are links to the English and Spanish language surveys. More languages forthcoming.
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. 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. 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!
- Health care clinics and organizations are encouraged to enroll in CalVax to become vaccinators.
- To volunteer at a county vaccination site, please register here.
- To volunteer at a state MyTurn vaccination site, please register here.
Disparities data and studies
Alameda County vaccination rates by race/ethnicity as of May 5 show that Latinx and Black/African American are still less likely to have been vaccinated compared to White, API or Native American 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.
Updated vaccination data from the Oakland Coliseum and mobile van show that a higher proportion of Black and Latinx people are vaccinated through the mobile vans compared to the drive-through Coliseum site.
Nationwide the CDC reports that “in the first 2.5 months of the U.S. vaccination program, high social vulnerability counties had lower COVID-19 vaccination coverage than did low social vulnerability counties… Continued monitoring of vaccination coverage by social vulnerability metrics is critical for developing tailored, local vaccine administration and outreach efforts to reduce COVID-19 vaccination inequities.”
New vaccine equity guidance shared by the CDC HIV prevention division: Click to download
- COVID-19 Vaccine Equity: Best Practices for Community and Faith-based Organizations
- A Guide for Community Partners includes strategies, interventions, and ready-made messages and materials.
- Toolkit for Correctional and Detention Facilities
Harm reduction tips and resources
What fully vaccinated people can do (2 weeks after completing all doses):
Here is the updated CDC’s guidance for what fully vaccinated people can do:
- Gathering with other vaccinated people in small groups indoors and without masks,
- Visiting one low-risk household indoors without masks,
- Participating in uncrowded outdoor activities without a mask, and
- 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.
Fully vaccinated people can also attend small outdoor gatherings, such as picnics at a park or backyard, without wearing masks.
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.
- The good news is that fully vaccinated people are very well protected against serious COVID-19 and infection risk is low.
- Do you work in a healthcare setting? Let your supervisor know and follow workplace guidelines.
- 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 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.
When fully vaccinated people should get tested for COVID-19:
- When experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
- When you live or work in a congregate or crowded setting and have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Click for more from the CDC: general guidance, travel guidance and the scientific brief. Click here for our harm reduction guidance and graphics.
CA state followed on 4/15/21 with similar guidance, while reiterating the importance of continuing to follow public health guidelines around mask wearing and physical distancing in most settings.
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.
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!
A large randomized-controlled trial of HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) in pregnant women in 9 countries found that dolutegravir-containing regimens had superior virologic suppression and, combined with TAF/F (emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide fumarate), the lowest risk for maternal and fetal adverse events.
A study from the Expanded HIV Testing and Linkage to Care Program, a collaboration between 13 health care centers in Chicago, showed that during the COVID-19 pandemic Emergency Departments (EDs) that integrated HIV screening with COVID-19 screening had 2.4x higher rates of acute HIV diagnoses per day (26%) during the pandemic compared to the 4 years prior to the pandemic. The study authors suggest that patients with acute HIV may be more likely to come in for testing because they are concerned about possible COVID-19 infection. This study demonstrates the importance of integrating opt-out HIV screening into EDs and into COVID-19 testing.
Other updates and opportunities:
Same-day help for substance use is now available Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm at the Bridge Clinic! Same-day services with Bridge Clinic through Substance Use Navigators are available to everyone, regardless of insurance status, including counseling and treatment for opioids (pills, heroin, etc.), alcohol, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Services are by phone and/or in-person at Highland Hospital. English and Spanish-speaking staff are available, and interpreter services are available for other languages. Text or call the Bridge Clinic Substance Use Navigators at (510) 545-2765. Download flyers here and see more service details here
Jobs, Internships, Scholarships and more:
- St. James Infirmary is looking a bilingual case manager of OurTransHomeSF (OTH) which is a program that provides housing assistance and stabilization support for unhoused and marginally housed Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) individuals through short-term independent living housing (the Bobbi Jean Baker House), housing navigation services, and a rental subsidy program. Learn more about the opportunity here.
- Narika is a Bay Area based organization which supports survivors of domestic violence, especially in the South Asian and AAPI communities. Narika is looking for a Domestic Violence Advocacy Program Manager to join their team. Find the full job posting and application process here.
- The East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE) convenes coalitions of community, labor, and faith organizations to fight for economic and racial justice. They are looking for a Deputy Director of Campaigns, a Faith-Rooted Organizer, and an Outreach Team Leader. Learn more about the organization and the opportunities here.
- The Oakland Unified School District has a three year Human Trafficking Youth Prevention Education grant that needs a project manager! They are looking for someone who is very strong in project management/grants management and also has a mental health or social work background with experience in secondary schools. Learn more about the Human Trafficking Youth Prevention Education Project Manager job at OUSD here.
- La Clinica de la Raza is hiring 8 AmeriCorps Health Educators at their school-based health centers at for the 2021-22 program year. AmeriCorps Health Educators provide individual, classroom, and campus-wide health education and health coaching services, and are responsible for facilitating a peer health education program. The position details are available here.
- Ruby’s Place provides survivors with crisis services, shelter, counseling, children’s services, and more. They are currently hiring a Bilingual House Manager for their men’s shelter for survivors of human trafficking. The position is part-time, 24 hours per week, and eligible for benefits. Learn more about the position here.
- The Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) is a research center within the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of California. NPI conducts and translates policy-relevant research to transform environments for healthy children, families, and communities. They are looking for a Project Policy Analyst to support study design, data collection and analysis, and overall project management for multiple studies. To see full description, responsibilities, qualifications, and apply, click here.
- There was a new HOPWA grant opportunity released last week. Funding provides communities with an opportunity to create and implement new projects that align with initiatives aimed at ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic and elevate housing as an effective structural intervention to end HIV. Learn more about the opportunity here.
- Community Catalyst has launched a Vaccine Equity and Access Program, a national program that supports community-based organizations led by and working with people of color to facilitate information about, and access to, vaccines as part of a broader effort to reduce vaccination disparities, specifically in influenza and COVID-19 vaccination rates. The program will invest in approximately 75 community-based organizations led by and working with communities of color. Successful applicants will receive $100,000 for a 12-month project building both COVID-19 and influenza vaccine confidence and will join a growing network of experts in the field in expanding vaccine access. Learn more about the opportunity here.
- The Alameda County Health Care Services Agency (HCSA) Career Exploration Program (CEP) is a paid internship program designed for Oakland high school students to explore careers in health and health administration.The application is now live and the deadline for the application is Friday, May 7th, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PST. Learn more and apply here.
- East Bay HIV Prevention Network Meeting: Friday, May 21st, 11-12:30pm
- Upcoming EBGTZ Working Group Meetings:
- Youth Engagement Working Group: Friday, May 7th 2-3:30pm
- Community Messaging Working Group: Friday, May 14th 1:30-3pm
- Spanish Language Engagement Group: Wednesday, June 9th, 1:30-3pm
- To join our email lists or working groups: contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Check out this downloadable list of April to June 2021 trainings for HIV team members: from EBGTZ, PAETC and the Alameda County Care Connect.
- Alameda County Care Connect is offering a suite of trainings to support care providers in meeting clients’ needs. Some of their upcoming trainings include: Accessing Primary Care 101, The Empathy Effect: Countering Bias to Improve Health Outcomes, The Empathy Effect: Countering Bias to Improve Health Outcomes, Tools of Engagement: Virtual Facilitation, Cultural Humility- An Approach to Promote Health Equity, Strategies to Enhance a Cultural Humility Approach. Find more information on signing up for these training sessions here.
- Pacific AIDS Education Training Center is hosting the 16th Annual HIV Nursing Network Conference (Health Equity in the time of COVID-19) is coming up on Friday, May 7 from 9:30am-4pm. Learn more and register here.
- 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.
- Word of Mouth Food Pantry is offering free contactless food assistance on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month at 8400 Enterprise Way in Oakland. Learn more about Word of Mouth here.
- Low cost generic PrEP options are now available: There are now several versions of generic emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (F/TDF for short; also available as brand name “Truvada®”) that can be purchased to be used as PrEP. Learn more about this change here.
- Want to learn more about on-demand PrEP or “2-1-1” as a way to protect from getting HIV? UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland (CHO) has released new handouts for community members describing what 2-1-1 PrEP is and how it works:
- There are several open research studies at UCSF for HIV prevention/treatment, STDs, viral hepatitis, and/or COVID-19: click here for more information on these opportunities.
HIV services during COVID-19: Click here for Contra Costa HIV services and see our online directory for Alameda County HIV services.
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.
- COVID Vaccines: Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Solano County, California State , CA vaccine progress tracker
- COVID Vaccine Myths and Facts and FAQs in English, Español, 中文, and Arabic and Questions & Answers
- COVID vaccine safety updates (CDC)
- COVID testing: locations in the Bay Area; Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Solano County; CDC guidance on home testing.
- Phone numbers/Centro de llamadas: Contra Costa County- (844) 729-8410, Solano County- 707-784-8988, Alameda County vaccine line in English, Spanish, Mandarin for those who cannot navigate the internet: 510-208-4VAX or 510-208-4829
- COVID supports (food, housing, stipends, etc.): Alameda County resources and ARCH isolation stipends, Contra Costa County, Solano County
- Public Health Department updates: Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Solano County, California State
- What’s open: Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Solano County, California State and CA rules on reopening
- COVID data: Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Solano County, California State, California (SF Chronicle), US (CDC), US by race (CDC), National/Global (JHU). Variants: in the US (CDC) and in California.
- Maximizing mask protection: CDC guidance, EBGTZ mask videos, guidance and resources
- COVID PPE, staffing or testing supplies: Alameda County EMS– request PPE, request staffing or request testing supplies.
- HIV: FAQs for people living with HIV (PLWH) and Preguntas Frecuentes in Spanish, Guidance for PLWH (CDC), Guidance for HIV providers (HIVMA), Vaccines for PLWH (HIVMA), UNAIDS infosheet on COVID-19 vaccines and HIV
- HIV services during COVID-19: Click here for Contra Costa HIV services, Alameda County HIV services, SF Community Clinic HIV clinic reopening guidance
- Key Communities: Harm Reduction Coalition, Immigrants Rising, Protecting Immigrant Families: Public Charge, Healthcare for the Homeless, COVID info in Asian languages
Looking for COVID-19 testing?
- Rapid COVID-19 antigen home tests are now available: The BinaxNow antigen home self-test, retailing at 2 tests for $23.99 is now sold at pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens, Walmart) and online retailers nationwide. The 15-minute test is done with a nasal swab, with results showing on a card. Additional antigen tests will be on sale soon too. The CDC has guidance on what individuals should do following a negative or positive at-home test.
- SF Chronicle’s map of Bay Area testing sites that don’t require a doctor’s referral.
- 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 leaveto 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.