INTERVIEW: Oakland mayor warns of 'explosion' of cases if county moves to quickly in reopening amid COVID-19 pandemic

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf spoke with ABC7's Kristen Sze and Reggie Aqui Wednesday morning, discussing COVID-19 testing sites in Oakland, cuts to the city's budget amid the pandemic and how Alameda County has now surpassed Santa Clara County for having the most cases of the virus in the Bay Area.

There are three coronavirus testing sites in Oakland, including a walk-up site where an appointment is not necessary. That testing site is at 99th Avenue and International Boulevard, the mayor said.

As for the other testing sites in Oakland, the mayor shared her experience of getting tested and receiving her results back Tuesday night.

"It was so easy, you make an appointment online, I got an appointment within two days of my request," the mayor said.

Though the test was quick, the mayor was honest about the experience.

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"It's a little uncomfortable, I'm not going to lie," Schaaf said. "It's fast, it's easy, it's so important."

Schaaf said she tested negative for the virus.

Alameda County has now surpassed the Bay Area's epicenter for COVID-19, Santa Clara County, with more cases.

Alameda County now has 2,959 cases of the virus, as of Wednesday afternoon.

That number is hundreds more than Santa Clara County, which has 2,675.

The mayor said that could be because of increased testing capacity in Alameda County.

Santa Clara County's top health official, Dr. Sara Cody, expressed concern this week about how fast California moving forward in reopening.

"The pace at which the state has made these modifications is concerning to me," said Dr. Cody in a virtual Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday. "We can't see the effects of any of these changes ... for at least 14 days of an incubation period. And 21 days is even better."

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Schaaf shared her take on Cody's concerns.

"I do, I think that people have got to take doctor's orders and that is to remember we don't have a vaccine, we don't have a treatment," Schaaf said in terms of the state moving too fast. "All we can do is continue to practice social distancing, washing our hands, covering our faces and staying home as much as possible."

The mayor recognizes those precautions are a "tremendous hardship."

Regardless, health should take precedence, she said.

"We are seeing ample evidence that if we move too quickly, we can just have a huge explosion," Schaaf said. "This thing moves very quickly, so please be proud that we are in a county where our health professionals have been cautious."

In terms of Oakland's budget, which was released last week, Schaaf said the city cut $122 million, but it was done strategically to lessen impact on Oakland residents.

Schaaf said Oakland city staff did an "amazing job at minimizing impact to public services and to employees."

The city also plans to tap into its rainy day fund of $31 million.

The fund was created five years ago and can save roughly 100 jobs, Schaaf said.

Watch the full interview with the Oakland mayor above.

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