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Sanando Juntos: Fruitvale COVID-19 Testing Campaign: Nearly 1100 people were tested; 39 tested positive for COVID-19

OAKLAND, CA – Oct. 14, 2020 –  Oakland community leaders, UCSF, and Mayor Libby Schaaf announced the full results of the two-day Sanando Juntos COVID-10 Fruitvale testing event in September. The presentation included a detailed discussion of the data, breakdown of demographic and socioeconomic risk factors in the Fruitvale community, and opportunities for policy change. The data gathered revealed some alarming, but sadly, not surprising results.

The live press conference was held on Friday, October 16 at 9:00 a.m. at La Clínica parking lot, 35th Ave. and E. 12th St. Click here to watch press conference.

A limited preview of top-line study results follows:

During the two-day event in late September, a total of 1,099 individuals received nose swab tests – 955 adults and 144 children. In addition, another 859 antibody (blood) tests were given – 803 to adults and 56 to children. 

The nose swab tests revealed that 39 individuals (29 adults and 10 children) tested positive for COVID-19 infection on PCR-based tests. Further, 78 adults tested positive for the COVID-19 antibody as did six children, indicating past COVID-19 infection.

Results of the study found that PCR+ prevalence was 3.6% overall among participants. Prevalence in non-Latinx individuals was 0.5% but that number increased to 5.2% among Latinx adults and children and 8.1% among adults who identified as Mayan Latinx. These numbers are much higher than Oakland overall.

The study found antibody-positive prevalence was 9.8% overall11.9% among Latinx adults and children, and an alarming 26.8% among Mayan Latinx adults.

The testing was done in collaboration with the UCSF COVID Community Public Health Initiative, La Clínica, The Unity Council, and other community organizations based in the Fruitvale District.

Even as the infection rate continues to decline in the area, the testing also revealed the overall needs of the Fruitvale community continue to increase.

As of October 9, the 94601 zip code, which includes Fruitvale, continued to have the highest number of positive cases in all of Alameda County.

The event’s goal was to gather data to help reduce the spread of infections among the Latino community, leading to more resources and help for the area’s residents. Organizers also gathered data to determine the overall impact the pandemic has had on the area’s residents. The data was broken down by those who identified as Latino and other among the 1,099 who received the nose swab test.

Among the data findings:

  • More than 25 percent of Latinos saw a reduction in income.
  • 15 percent of Latinos lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
  • 42 percent of Latinos said they faced food insecurity.

According to organizers, the findings revealed the need for more testing and financial relief, housing supports, and food security resources. There also needs to be better public health outreach to these communities – especially the Mam (Mayan) speaking community. An astounding 61 percent of Mam speakers said they are food insecure.

“The COVID PCR and antibody data confirm that Latinos in the East Bay are disproportionately infected with COVID-19.  Our data further identifies the Mam speaking, Mayan population as particularly high risk within the Latino community.  More testing and targeted public health messaging are needed, as are efforts to make essential work safer,” said Alicia Fernández, MD, Professor of Medicine and Director of the UCSF Latinx Center of Excellence.

“The data collected by the study confirms the reality that we see in the Fruitvale community. The numbers confirm that the needs continue to go up, and low-income Latinx folks, especially mam speakers, are more vulnerable to the pandemic’s effects than any other communities in Alameda County. We need the county, city, and our philanthropic partners to step up and support our community to stay afloat. No one should have to worry about where they are going to sleep or get their next meal in the most prosperous region of the United States,” said Chris Iglesias, CEO, The Unity Council.

“Since early March, La Clínica began testing its own patients. Our early numbers demonstrated a very high prevalence rate that was quite alarming, disproportionately affecting the Latino Community. This testing event confirmed all the major trends we had witnessed within our own patients: the infection of entire families, including children, the food insecurity families experienced once testing positive, the high number of essential workers affected who had no access to paid leaves, and certainly, the need for more testing. Armed with this new data, we have a better sense of how we must now move forward,” said Jane García, CEO, La Clínica de La Raza.

 “The results of the Sanando Juntos: Fruitvale Testing Project demonstrates the critical need and responsibility of the City, County, State and Federal government to support our community’s most vulnerable residents, since most are hard working families and individuals who are usually the public and private sectors’ frontline and essential workers,” said Noel Gallo, Oakland City Councilmember District 5.

“It is not new that we are the underserved and one of the most vulnerable groups in the area, and now with COVID-19 we are facing an even greater crisis especially with access to health services, housing, food and financial support. That is why we are here today, we are here to ask for more testing and assistance with essential needs,” said Rosendo Aguilar, Fruitvale community member and mam speaker.



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Media Contacts:

  • Victoria Sanchez De Alba, De Alba Communications (for The Unity Council) (650) 270-7810 /
  • Itzel Diaz-Romo, The Unity Council, (510) 302-7646 /