(Photo illustration by Fernando Zhiminaicela/Pixabay)

Free COVID-19 testing will be available this weekend in Oakland’s Fruitvale District, organizers said.

Testing will be available to families in the 94601 zip code on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the La Clinica de La Raza parking lot at 35th Avenue and East 12th Street.

The area is disproportionately affected by the virus, so community groups are holding a Test and Respond campaign-Sanando Juntos: Fruitvale (Healing Together: Fruitvale).

“This event will help identify those individuals who are COVID-19 positive but do not know it,” said Chris Iglesias, CEO of The Unity Council, which is a partner in the project.

As of Thursday, there were more than 2,100 cases in zip code 94601, according to the Alameda County Public Health Department. Oakland has the most cases of any city in the county with about 8,300 cases.

Nose swab testing will be available for adults, children and infants. Residents do not need to have symptoms to be tested. Drive-thru testing will also be available and is urged for residents in high-risk or vulnerable groups.

Testing will not affect immigration status, organizers said.

Up to four days will be needed to get the results from the nose swab testing while up to two weeks is necessary to get antibody test results.

Organizers will get in touch with residents who test positive to help them get the support they need.

Health workers will stay in touch with residents who test positive to be sure they have what they need such as food, housing and financial resources.

The event will help public health officials collect data, which may help reduce the spread of the virus in the Latino population. Among ethnic groups, about half of the total number of cases in the county is among Latinos, public health data show.

“Data collected will inform advocates, public health officials, and clinicians involved in the care of the Fruitvale community,” said Alicia Fernandez, professor of medicine and director of the Latinx Center of Excellence at the University of California at San Francisco.

Testing will be done by UCSF and registration is encouraged but not required. Residents can register at https://www.primarybio.com/r/fruitvale.

Organizers said residents who want to participate in COVID-19 research may have that opportunity.

Organizers said residents must wear masks and maintain social distancing as public health measures will be enforced.

Hand sanitizer will be available in the event area.

Keith Burbank, Bay City News

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.