County rolls out two more COVID-19 testing sites

As part of its efforts to ramp up testing capacity, Santa Clara leaders announced Monday two new COVID-19 testing sites.

The sites, at James Lick High School in East San Jose and Christopher High School in Gilroy, get the county closer to the state’s goal of having testing available within a 30-minute drive of every Californian. Both are part of the state’s effort to add 80 sites across California in underserved communities.

“We’re very pleased to have this facility here to help more people, to save more people from hardship, and of course to save lives,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese.

The James Lick and Christopher High sites are expected to open on Wednesday. Diagnostic tests at each site are only available at this time to county residents exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Each site can handle approximately 130 tests per site, per day.

Testing is by appointment only, after a screening process, and results take approximately two days. To make an appointment, visit lhi.care/covidtesting or call 1-888-634-1123.

County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mary Ann Dewan said they chose schools because they are known landmarks in the community.

“We are extremely grateful for the leadership of the school board members and the superintendents,” Dewan said.

Serving vulnerable communities

While Latinos make up approximately 27 percent of the county’s population, they make up nearly 40 percent of the county’s COVID-19 cases.

That was a disparity highlighted by both San Jose Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco and community leader Jacky Franco.

“Broadening and providing testing sites in our most vulnerable communities is a big and needed step,” Franco said.

Residents do not need to have insurance to get tested at the two sites, which are both free of charge. Immigration status will not be checked at either site.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure that by density and by access that the most people in our community will have access to these sites,” said Board President Cindy Chavez.

More testing coming

Leaders across the state acknowledge that increased testing capacity is needed to help end the shelter-in-place order.

Cortese noted that testing is a critical indicator in helping move the county out of shelter in place.

There were hints that testing criteria could change in coming days, or more sites could open up. County staffer David Campos said further announcements to ramp up testing could be coming this week.

While Los Angeles has opened up testing to any resident, regardless of work status or symptoms, Bay Area testing hasn’t yet reached that capacity.

“What we’re hoping happens is that we have enough tests available that we test people who are both symptomatic and asymptomatic,” Chavez said.

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