County opens Fairgrounds COVID testing site with massive capacity

Santa Clara County health leaders opened a new COVID-19 testing site Tuesday that could majorly scale-up local capacity. It comes as demand continues to outstrip supply, even as pop-up and by-appointment testing has expanded.

By the end of the week, the site – located at County Fairgrounds – should be able test 1,000 people per day. The goal is to expand that to up to 5,000 per day, the most of any site in the Bay area. Valley Medical Center will operate the new facility.

“Our testing team has done an incredible job through smaller pop-up and rotating sites but we saw the need for a larger centralized facility that can meet the increasing demand,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, the County’s COVID-19 Testing Officer.

Private company Verily also uses part of the fairgrounds site for its testing. Health officials hope to use the site for large-scale flu shots this fall and eventually for COVID-19 vaccinations.

“This testing site has tremendous potential for our residents in one-stop,” said Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez.

The site will feature Spanish-speaking staff and 10 lanes of processing. While most will be targeted at vehicle drive-up traffic, bike and pedestrian lanes will also be open.

Officials say those with or without symptoms of COVID-19 can use the site. Testing is particularly important for those who work in customer facing roles.

“Testing continues to be one of the most important tools we have to protect our community from COVID-19 and to identify the harder hit sectors of our society,” Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said.

Testing is free and does not require health insurance.