Bay Area Counties order more COVID-19 testing data from private labs

Adequate testing for COVID-19 has been critically lacking across the country, with Santa Clara County no exception to the rule. While testing facilities are being set up at various sites across the area, a number of private labs are stepping up to run the tests and deliver results to concerned patients.

On Tuesday, County health officials joined with counterparts from Alameda Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties, as well as the City of Berkeley, calling on those private labs to report more data about the tests they are running.

To read the order in full, click here.

Up to this point, private labs have just been reporting information about positive tests, making it difficult for officials to get a full picture of how many people are being tested area wide.

“This order will ensure public health officials regionally and across the state have access to the information we need to understand, predict, and combat the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Health Officer.

Labs are now required to report all positive, negative, and inconclusive results.

“By sharing high quality test result data at scale, state and local health authorities can better track COVID-19, predict its spread, and better focus public resources to end this global pandemic,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón, Health Officer for the City & County of San Francisco, in a statement.

Status of testing in Santa Clara County

The order came following an update from Santa Clara County officials detailing the testing situation in Santa Clara County, and the extremely limited role the County’s public health lab plays in testing for COVID-19.

As of Monday, the County’s lab can run a maximum of 100 tests per day, though official note that many patients require more than one test to ensure accuracy. The lab usually has results within 24 hours of receiving samples, which is faster than what many patients across the region have reported from non-County sites.

County officials announced late Monday that 321 people have tested positive in the Santa Clara County, 19 more than Sunday’s total, with a rise in deaths up to 13.