Free outdoor COVID-19 testing will be available on Saturday, Sept. 26 and Sunday, Sept. 27 at La Clinica de La Raza's parking lot at 35th Avenue and E. 12th Street in Fruitvale. Credit: Pete Rosos

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A free, large-scale COVID testing event is planned to take place this Saturday and Sunday in the Fruitvale. It’s the third time in a month that community-based organizations in East Oakland, in partnership with UCSF, have planned to hold such an event. The first two attempts—one in deep East Oakland and the other in the Fruitvale—were both postponed because of unhealthy air conditions caused by wildfires. 

The air quality in Oakland this weekend is expected to be “moderate,” with an Air Quality Index (AQI) score somewhere between 50 and 100, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s forecast.

The weekend event is targeting residents in Oakland’s 94601 zip code, an area that encompasses Fruitvale and adjacent neighborhoods in East Oakland. That zip code and two others in East Oakland (94603 and 94621) account for more than half of all the positive COVID-19 cases in Oakland, according to the Alameda County health department. Latinos, a majority in Fruitvale, make up close to half of the county’s nearly 21,000 documented COVID-19 cases. 

Organizers of the event are hoping to test several thousand residents. United for Health Oakland, the umbrella coalition comprised of local nonprofits, community-based health providers, the county health department, and UCSF is asking for in-person volunteers to support the public health effort by signing up to do pre-registration canvassing and day-of testing.

Here’s what you need to know about getting tested and volunteering at this weekend’s event:

SANANDO JUNTOS’ (HEALING TOGETHER): FRUITVALE

What: A free, COVID-testing event for families (including children) and individuals living in the Fruitvale District and 94601 area code.

When: Saturday, Sept. 26and Sunday, Sept. 27 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Where: La Clínica de La Raza parking lot, 35th Avenue and E. 12th Street

How: Residents are encouraged to pre-register online, but nobody will be turned away or denied testing for not being pre-registered.

Volunteers: If you are interested in helping as an in-person pre-registration canvasser or with day-of testing, you can sign up online or send an email to: volunteer@unitedinhealthoakland.org  

Language services: Community providers and translators will be available to support Spanish and Mam-speaking residents.

Questions? Residents can get answers to their questions by emailing United Health Oakland at info@unitedinhealthoakland.org or by calling one of their hotlines: East Oakland: (888) 763-0007; Fruitvale: (415) 506-7563

Information and event updates are also available on the United in Health Oakland website: https://unitedinhealthoakland.org/

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Jacob Simas is Managing Editor of The Oaklandside. He joined us from Univision, where he led social-impact initiatives and established the Rise Up: Be Heard journalism training program for young people and community organizers in underserved areas of California. He was a senior editor and director of youth and community media at New America Media, where he led a community news network that amplified student and youth reporting in California news deserts. Simas has lived in Oakland for the past decade with his wife and two children, who attend Oakland public schools. He is an advisory board member for Youth Beat and a former volunteer host and producer with KPFA.