Alameda County’s zip code map of COVID-19 cases shows a concentration of the city’s cases around the UC Berkeley campus and West Berkeley, as well as parts of South Berkeley that have more Black and Latino residents and fewer socioeconomic advantages, according to state and city data.
The county published the map on its data dashboard last spring and has since recorded a running total of the city’s cases. The Berkeley Public Health Department doesn’t currently display zipcode data on its own dashboard but links to the county’s data.
Nine Berkeley zip codes on the map add up to 3,151 cases, about 20 short of the city’s running total of 3,170 cases. Those remaining cases may be residents who live in neighboring zip codes that overlap with Oakland, Emeryville, Albany and unincorporated areas within Alameda County.
Case numbers in each bounded area represent a ratio of cases per 100,000 residents, and the city of Berkeley overall has about 120,000 residents. The darkest area doesn’t represent the highest number of cases, but the highest ratio of cases based on its population.
The current darkest area on the map is zip code 94720, which includes the majority of the Cal campus bounded by Oxford Street on the west and Grizzly Peak Boulevard in the east. This area has had 173 COVID-19 total cases, among a population of about 1,466 residents.
But Cal has reported 987 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, which may be accounted for in neighboring zip codes, 94704 and 94705, which contain multiple “on-campus” student dorms and the Southside neighborhood where students live. These zip codes have 820 and 290 total cases, with a combined population of over 43,000 residents.
The university has dealt with case surges among undergraduates and has strict testing and quarantine procedures for students. All students living on campus were under lockdown for the last two weeks (ending Tuesday night) after the dorms experienced a surge after winter break.
Berkeleyside has reported on multiple outbreaks at skilled nursing facilities and long-term care homes throughout the city, but the largest in the city so far was at the Golden Gate Fields racetrack at the border of Albany and Berkeley. Berkeley Public Health reported the cases within Berkeley boundaries, which would fall into zip code 94710.
There have been 531 cases in this zip code for a population of about 8,500 people, and Berkeleyside reported over 200 cases at the track in November 2020. Now, there’s a mass vaccination site at the racetrack operated by Berkeley Public Health, Curative and Alameda County.
Overall, case rates have also been higher in South Berkeley zip codes 94702 and 94703. Case rates of 2,921.4 and 2,542.4 (per 100,000 residents) compared to rates as low as 909 and 1376.4 in wealthier North Berkeley zip codes 94708 and 94707, respectively.
Some of these West and South Berkeley areas that have higher case rates are identified in the state’s Healthy Places Index (HPI) as having fewer socioeconomic advantages and more residents who are Black, Latino and people of color, according to the city’s Health Status Report from 2018. In Berkeleyside’s analysis of fatalities due to COVID-19, most people who died in Berkeley were found to be Black, male, age 80 or older, and city data shows that Black and Latino residents have been disproportionately impacted by the virus (as well as older residents).
Areas lower on the HPI index — many of which also have higher populations of Black and Latino residents, as well as essential workers — have seen higher case numbers and deaths throughout Alameda County.