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.Coliseum News

Oakland closes site and Giants open as the fate of the A’s lingers on

Roughly half a million people will have been vaccinated at the Oakland Coliseum by the time its vaccination site closes this weekend, officials with the Coliseum’s joint powers authority said Friday.

The Coliseum’s mass-vaccination site closed last Sunday, enabling the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency to pivot its resources toward vaccinating areas that have been hardest hit by the pandemic and remain at higher risk for new coronavirus cases.

“At its busiest point, there were 1,000 people working out there at the Coliseum, and that was most of the time from mid-February up until probably April, maybe even early May,” Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority Executive Director Henry Gardner said Friday morning to the JPA’s Board of Commissioners.

“So it was a beehive of activity and a very complex operation,” he added.

Gardner said that the roughly 500,000 people who have been vaccinated at the Coliseum do not include residents who were vaccinated via mobile clinics deployed from the Coliseum site.

“I think it would be safe to say that the work we did to get this site open for vaccination … the sheer number of people that we got vaccinated, much more quickly than would otherwise have happened, has made a real difference and saved lives,” Oakland Vice Mayor and Coliseum Authority Board Vice Chair Rebecca Kaplan said.

State and federal officials originally planned to administer 6,000 doses per day at the site once it was fully operational.

According to Alameda County Supervisor and Coliseum Authority Board Chair Nate Miley, roughly 8,000 doses were administered per day at the Coliseum at its peak. 

“By the time the County took over full operation on May 10, it was maybe down to 4,000 doses a day,” Miley said. “Overnight, it went to 400 a day, and that’s one of the big reasons why we decided on May 23 we’d be shutting down the site because it was being totally underutilized. And this wasn’t a phenomenon just in Alameda County, it was being seen at other mega sites as well.”

Across Alameda County, 1,731,409 vaccine doses have been administered since vaccines became available in mid-December.

More than 1.02 million residents have received at least one dose, equal to 75.6% of the county’s population of people aged 16 and older.

“It has been quite a ride, and an enormously complex operation,” Gardner said. “And, thanks to the good work of our county health department, Cal OES, Department of General Services and FEMA, a very successful collaborative effort.”

Meanwhile, Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval issued a statement on May 11 saying, “Major League Baseball instructed the A’s to begin exploring other markets while we continue to pursue the Oakland waterfront ballpark project.” This news comes after years of both parties attempting to come to a mutually beneficial agreement. “After four years of work, MLB is concerned with the rate of progress with local officials and other stakeholders on our new ballpark efforts,” wrote Kaval.  “The time is here for a decision on our future, and it is unclear to us and MLB whether there is a path to success for the A’s in Oakland.”

The other side of the Bay Bridge received better sports news when the San Francisco Giants announced on May 18 that the team will stop requiring a negative Covid-19 test or proof of vaccination to enter Oracle Park and sit in socially distanced sections of the park.

The change took effect on May 21, though fans sitting in sections of the ballpark that are reserved for the fully vaccinated will still be required to show proof that they have completed their vaccination series.

Face coverings will still be required at all times when fans are not actively eating or drinking, even in fully vaccinated sections, according to the team.

Walk-up concession ordering is available at all concession stands throughout Oracle Park, but fans are encouraged to order food via the MLB Ballpark app to reduce face-to-face interactions.

—Bay City News and the East Bay Express

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