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Free COVID-19 tests available for all county residents at 2 new locations

East San Jose sites will operate on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

COVID-19 tests are now available to all Santa Clara County residents at two new locations in San Jose, county and city officials said Wednesday.

Verily Life Sciences, the life science research arm of Alphabet Inc., will offer free testing to all county residents, even if they don't have symptoms or health insurance, at Police Athletic League Stadium at 680 S. 34th St. and the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds at 344 Tully Road.

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Image by Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM courtesy CDC.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez implored residents to get tested as soon as they can as the county seeks to reach an average of 4,000 tests per day. Chavez also said that local officials can and will help residents who struggle to sign up for testing due to obstacles like language barriers.

"If you have a difficult time signing up, you can call any of your local elected officials' offices, particularly in San Jose, and we're going to help you sign up," Chavez said. "It's really important that you do that."

Tests at both sites will be conducted differently than the common nasopharyngeal swab test that requires a long medical cotton swab reaching the back of a patient's throat.

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Patients can self-administer the test in their vehicle by using a smaller swab similar to a Q-tip to swipe the inside of each nostril for 10 seconds. The entire testing process can be completed in as little as three minutes, according to Verily.

County Testing Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib said both sites are located in eastern San Jose due to the disproportionate number of cases that have been confirmed in the area.

"Cumulatively, and even over the last couple weeks, 40% of our cases that we've identified have come from East San Jose," Fenstersheib said. "And the percent of testing that we've been doing up until now has only been 20% from that area, so we're undertesting people from San Jose."

"There are many factors behind that," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said of East San Jose's disproportionate case numbers, "but the fundamental one is we know this is where the economic need is. This is where so many of our residents are working every day in essential industries."

Fenstersheib cautioned that the county's number of cases is likely to continue rising as more people get tested, particularly in areas with large numbers of high-risk residents. As of Wednesday, the county has confirmed 2,492 cases, including 138 deaths.

He also advised frontline health care workers to get tested once per month at either site.

"You can't just do it once, you have to do it on a regular basis," he said. "That's why it's important for the employers of the workers to understand that it's really important for them to work with us and their employees to provide time for those workers to go and get tested."

The state of California is funding both testing sites through its partnership with Verily. Both sites will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a daily cap of about 300 tests.

At Wednesday's news conference at PAL Stadium, Liccardo said if both sites are consistently hitting that cap, they may consider expanding the daily testing hours.

"We want to do everything we can to drive people here first, show that this is a place where, clearly, we're going to fully utilize these resources and then we'll be able to expand," he said.

Santa Clara County residents can sign up for a test at either location at Verily's Project Baseline website, projectbaseline.com/study/covid-19. The website is available in both English and Spanish.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

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Free COVID-19 tests available for all county residents at 2 new locations

East San Jose sites will operate on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

by /

Uploaded: Wed, May 20, 2020, 2:09 pm

COVID-19 tests are now available to all Santa Clara County residents at two new locations in San Jose, county and city officials said Wednesday.

Verily Life Sciences, the life science research arm of Alphabet Inc., will offer free testing to all county residents, even if they don't have symptoms or health insurance, at Police Athletic League Stadium at 680 S. 34th St. and the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds at 344 Tully Road.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez implored residents to get tested as soon as they can as the county seeks to reach an average of 4,000 tests per day. Chavez also said that local officials can and will help residents who struggle to sign up for testing due to obstacles like language barriers.

"If you have a difficult time signing up, you can call any of your local elected officials' offices, particularly in San Jose, and we're going to help you sign up," Chavez said. "It's really important that you do that."

Tests at both sites will be conducted differently than the common nasopharyngeal swab test that requires a long medical cotton swab reaching the back of a patient's throat.

Patients can self-administer the test in their vehicle by using a smaller swab similar to a Q-tip to swipe the inside of each nostril for 10 seconds. The entire testing process can be completed in as little as three minutes, according to Verily.

County Testing Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib said both sites are located in eastern San Jose due to the disproportionate number of cases that have been confirmed in the area.

"Cumulatively, and even over the last couple weeks, 40% of our cases that we've identified have come from East San Jose," Fenstersheib said. "And the percent of testing that we've been doing up until now has only been 20% from that area, so we're undertesting people from San Jose."

"There are many factors behind that," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said of East San Jose's disproportionate case numbers, "but the fundamental one is we know this is where the economic need is. This is where so many of our residents are working every day in essential industries."

Fenstersheib cautioned that the county's number of cases is likely to continue rising as more people get tested, particularly in areas with large numbers of high-risk residents. As of Wednesday, the county has confirmed 2,492 cases, including 138 deaths.

He also advised frontline health care workers to get tested once per month at either site.

"You can't just do it once, you have to do it on a regular basis," he said. "That's why it's important for the employers of the workers to understand that it's really important for them to work with us and their employees to provide time for those workers to go and get tested."

The state of California is funding both testing sites through its partnership with Verily. Both sites will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a daily cap of about 300 tests.

At Wednesday's news conference at PAL Stadium, Liccardo said if both sites are consistently hitting that cap, they may consider expanding the daily testing hours.

"We want to do everything we can to drive people here first, show that this is a place where, clearly, we're going to fully utilize these resources and then we'll be able to expand," he said.

Santa Clara County residents can sign up for a test at either location at Verily's Project Baseline website, projectbaseline.com/study/covid-19. The website is available in both English and Spanish.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

Palo Alto Resident
Evergreen Park
on May 20, 2020 at 6:25 pm
Palo Alto Resident, Evergreen Park
on May 20, 2020 at 6:25 pm
8 people like this

Mayor Fine says that it is important to fund a consulting contract to plan for how to implement housing requirements that might coming down from the State. But, he and the majority of the current City Council are refusing to even call a study session to review the coming ABAG decrees and to allow residents to provide input as to how to respond to them.

Apparently all we should do is respond to what others tell us we should do — and pay big money for it — rather than try to shape the requirements themselves. Seems like too little too late to me.

But, as we have seen in the current budget discussions, the majority of the Council would rather cut the number of police and fire personnel that consultants for their pet projects.


resident
Downtown North
on May 21, 2020 at 8:02 am
resident, Downtown North
on May 21, 2020 at 8:02 am
3 people like this

I am glad to see testing more easily available these days. Who should be getting tested at this point? I understand that healthcare workers and essential workers need to get tested monthly. What about us in Palo Alto who are sheltering in place? Should we get tested even if we are not feeling any symptoms?


Paula Zenti
Mountain View
on May 22, 2020 at 6:37 am
Paula Zenti, Mountain View
on May 22, 2020 at 6:37 am
2 people like this

I’m glad there is testing available, but I have concerns about the fact that it is self-administered. Has there been research on this? Isn’t there risk of false neg/positive results?


preppers were right
Barron Park
on May 22, 2020 at 8:39 am
preppers were right, Barron Park
on May 22, 2020 at 8:39 am
12 people like this

This testing is not free. You are paying with your personal information. You can't get through the signup without logging into a Google account. If Cindy Chavez really wants me to get tested she can force Google to do it for actually free or she can pay for it herself.


Geographic
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2020 at 9:55 am
Geographic , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2020 at 9:55 am
1 person likes this

While it is great that more in the county can be tested, why not have another location further north in at another at risk area? I understand, from the Simitian townhall and this article, that covid is often location clustered. But there are at risk areas outside San Jose with folks who need testing.



Palo Verde Parent
Palo Verde
on May 22, 2020 at 10:08 am
Palo Verde Parent, Palo Verde
on May 22, 2020 at 10:08 am
6 people like this

This is misleading. I have signed-up and then when I got to the point to schedule the appt. it says no more appointments are available. I have tried for a few days now. If anyone has had any luck getting one, please pass on the info on how you were able to get the appointment.


Keep Palo Alto Wonderful
Community Center
on May 22, 2020 at 10:43 am
Keep Palo Alto Wonderful, Community Center
on May 22, 2020 at 10:43 am
Like this comment

I took the test on Tully Road yesterday. Total time spent was 20 mins. You must make an appt and you have to give your info to Verily. Kaiser wouldn't test me, so I went to this site. Results are supposed to take 2-5 days. I don't care if Verily knows my test results, as I assume that is to be able to contract trace or track infections by location of residence. I am glad there are options available


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