By Rob Waters, California Health Care Foundation, March 30, 2021
The black-and-green bus pulls into a parking lot around the corner from the Oakland Coliseum complex, where the Oakland Athletics play baseball, and the Golden State Warriors used to play basketball. This bus carries health workers, not ballplayers, and the lot is now home for dozens of individuals and families living in recreational vehicles (RVs), not parking for sports fans.
Under a light rain and gusty winds, members of the STOMP team, or Street Team Outreach Medical Program, unload items from their clinic on wheels. Out come a pop-up canopy, folding tables, COVID-19 testing kits, blue blankets, orange gloves, and boxed meals. A man with a bullhorn snakes in and out of rows of RVs, announcing “COVID testing, COVID testing,” and people emerge.
A mother and teenage daughter walk over to get free blankets and food, as does a man in a bathrobe and hoodie. Khadjia Lobo, a nurse practitioner, swabs the nose and cheeks of a man named Ruben, who has been living at the lot for 18 months. He’s been tested here before, he said, and is pleased the team has returned because some neighbors have recently been diagnosed with COVID-19. “It’s a helpful thing, and reassuring,” said Ruben, who declined to give his last name.