Last Friday, the City of Oakland launched a COVID-19 mobile testing site for the City’s first responders within the Oakland Police and Fire Departments. Oakland is one of the first cities in the nation to have dedicated testing for first responders. This week, the City expanded testing to all City employees who are symptomatic or who meet other specific criteria and who are serving the community during this pandemic.
“This mobile testing site helps take care of the people who take care of us,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “I want to acknowledge the outstanding team of staff from multiple City departments who got this up and running so quickly. It’s a testament to their commitment to our City family and the health and well-being of our community.”
“This testing is invaluable to continue the operations of the Oakland Police Department in responding to this pandemic,” said Barry Donelan, President of the Oakland Police Officers Association. “We appreciate the leadership of the City in making this mobile testing available. All first responders should have the same dedicated testing facility so that together we can keep our communities safe.”
“Standing up this testing site is a critical step in ensuring the health and safety of our firefighters and other City colleagues, and it allows us to better protect the community which depends on us each and every day," said Zac Unger, President of Local 55, the Oakland firefighters union, which assisted with the financing and logistics of the testing site. "We will continue to work collaboratively with the City Administration and local health care experts to protect our members, promote public health, and flatten the curve together."
As recommended by health professionals, COVID-19 testing is being offered to employees showing symptoms or to certain asymptomatic employees who have had confirmed exposure to the virus. The testing sites are primarily drive-thru to ensure social distancing and maintain public health; however, testing is available for employees who walk, bike, or take transit to the testing sites as well as long as they first report their exposure to the City’s health line.
The drive-up site was launched with the financial support of the Oakland COVID-19 Relief Fund. As additional resources become available, the City of Oakland and County of Alameda will work to expand the testing program to other Alameda County front-line responders.