COVID-19 rates are once again rising in Berkeley and Alameda County, with 195 patients hospitalized in Alameda County, 58 of which are in intensive care units, as of Wednesday.
City spokesperson Matthai Chakko said hospitalizations in Alameda County have nearly quadrupled in the past five weeks. He added that Thanksgiving celebrations may increase hospitalizations further.
“That’s scary. What that means is as it spreads, it multiplies. It’s happening in an exponential fashion,” Chakko said. “The vast majority of people gathered in small ways, but there are certainly people that gathered and we’re concerned that we’ll continue to see an even greater rise.”
The tools Berkeley has to combat the coronavirus remain limited and “poor,” according to Chakko. Without any proven treatments or widespread vaccines, Chakko said people should use face coverings, physically distance, wash their hands regularly, stay at home when sick and avoid gatherings.
Chakko added that the city of Berkeley has not added any further measures to deal with COVID-19 in the past week, but the city continues to monitor the numbers of cases and hospitalizations. He also noted that the state government might add restrictions that could impact residents of Berkeley, such as potential lockdowns.
The city of Berkeley has tested about 646 residents each day for the past few days, according to Chakko. He said although the positivity rate in Berkeley is lower than Alameda County’s — 1.21% compared to 3.6% — the community extends beyond just Berkeley residents, meaning risks are still great.
“Berkeley is being impacted less, but our community is more than just the people who live here,” Chakko said. “It includes the people who work here, who come visit and come pass through. The risk for residents is as great as the county level since we all live here.”