OAKLAND, Calif. (BCN) — The number of gunshot victims treated at Highland Hospital in Oakland is on the rise, as is the violence in the city, hospital officials said. The number of victims rose to 1,025 for all of 2020 and 2021 from 561 in the previous two years, according to data provided by Alameda Health System, which operates the hospital.

The average number of gunshot victims per month is also up. So far this year, 44 people on average have been treated per month, compared with 24 in 2019 and 23 in 2018. Highland Hospital does not treat all gunshot victims in Alameda County, but it does see many of them.

“As the safety-net health care provider in Alameda County tasked with healing and serving all in our community, it is incumbent on us to the sound the alarm,” James Jackson, CEO of Alameda Health System, said in a statement. “We’re seeing an increase in gun violence that is devastating.”

Rising violence in Oakland and in other large U.S. cities began with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which Highland Hospital data show. Highland Hospital is the East Bay’s only adult Level 1 trauma center. A Level 1 trauma center provides the highest level of care of any hospital. UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland provides trauma care for children.

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Hospital officials said the gun violence in Alameda County is affecting low-income people of color more than other groups. The same areas of the county that have the most emergency room visits for gunshot wounds also have higher rates of stroke, heart disease and diabetes, according to the health system. Jackson wants to do more to stem the violence and asked other community leaders to do the same. “I’m a son of Oakland. I grew up in Oakland,” Jackson said. “On behalf of AHS, I stand ready to lean in and do this work.” In a recent interview Jackson would not say what he would like other community leaders to do. Copyright © 2022 Bay City News, Inc.