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Santa Clara County makes at-home COVID tests available to the community

Distribution to start at four locations, including Foothill College, this weekend

Santa Clara County is distributing free at-home COVID-19 antigen tests that people who live, work or attend school in the county. Courtesy Getty Images.

Santa Clara County officials announced Friday that people who live, work or go to school in the county will have access to some 60,000 at-home COVID-19 tests this weekend.

County residents and workers can receive four tests per person as soon as Saturday, Jan. 22, according to Deputy County Executive Megan Doyle.

Tests will be directly distributed at three county parks — Hellyer County Park, Martial Cottle Park and Vasona Lake County Park — as well as Foothill College to those who make an appointment.

Appointments will be limited to one per person and must be made via the county's testing website. People who make an appointment will then be sent a QR code to scan at their testing site.

"The county of Santa Clara is committed to stepping up in incredible challenging times and, in this case, really trying to get a scarce resource," Doyle said during a briefing to announce the test distribution.

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The test distribution is similar to that of the federal government, which made four at-home antigen tests available to all U.S. households earlier this week.

For people in the county who do not have sufficient internet access, the county plans to conduct door-to-door outreach to ensure that they can access the county's supply of antigen tests.

County officials added that they will continue offering higher-sensitivity PCR testing across the county, with the capacity to conduct more than 8,000 tests per day on weekdays and more than 5,000 per day on weekends.

"This is in addition to the testing that's provided by other health care providers in our county, as well as commercial at-home tests that are becoming increasingly available," said Dr. Jennifer Tong, the associate chief medical officer for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

Last week, county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody argued that the need for PCR and antigen tests varies depending on when a person has been exposed to the virus or when they last tested positive.

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Antigen tests should be used by people who are seeking to shorten their quarantine period by testing negative for the virus. Positive antigen tests should be regarded with the same accuracy as a PCR test.

People who have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days are also not advised to get tested during that timeframe because the virus can remain dormant in a person's body for up to three months.

People who have new COVID-19 symptoms in the 90 days following a positive test and recovery from the virus are encouraged to use an antigen test.

At-home antigen test results will not be reported as part of the county's total number of COVID-19 cases.

As of Friday, 253,136 cases and 1,976 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in Santa Clara County.

Watch the full press conference:

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Santa Clara County makes at-home COVID tests available to the community

Distribution to start at four locations, including Foothill College, this weekend

by Eli Walsh / Bay City News Service

Uploaded: Fri, Jan 21, 2022, 4:47 pm

Santa Clara County officials announced Friday that people who live, work or go to school in the county will have access to some 60,000 at-home COVID-19 tests this weekend.

County residents and workers can receive four tests per person as soon as Saturday, Jan. 22, according to Deputy County Executive Megan Doyle.

Tests will be directly distributed at three county parks — Hellyer County Park, Martial Cottle Park and Vasona Lake County Park — as well as Foothill College to those who make an appointment.

Appointments will be limited to one per person and must be made via the county's testing website. People who make an appointment will then be sent a QR code to scan at their testing site.

"The county of Santa Clara is committed to stepping up in incredible challenging times and, in this case, really trying to get a scarce resource," Doyle said during a briefing to announce the test distribution.

The test distribution is similar to that of the federal government, which made four at-home antigen tests available to all U.S. households earlier this week.

For people in the county who do not have sufficient internet access, the county plans to conduct door-to-door outreach to ensure that they can access the county's supply of antigen tests.

County officials added that they will continue offering higher-sensitivity PCR testing across the county, with the capacity to conduct more than 8,000 tests per day on weekdays and more than 5,000 per day on weekends.

"This is in addition to the testing that's provided by other health care providers in our county, as well as commercial at-home tests that are becoming increasingly available," said Dr. Jennifer Tong, the associate chief medical officer for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

Last week, county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody argued that the need for PCR and antigen tests varies depending on when a person has been exposed to the virus or when they last tested positive.

Antigen tests should be used by people who are seeking to shorten their quarantine period by testing negative for the virus. Positive antigen tests should be regarded with the same accuracy as a PCR test.

People who have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days are also not advised to get tested during that timeframe because the virus can remain dormant in a person's body for up to three months.

People who have new COVID-19 symptoms in the 90 days following a positive test and recovery from the virus are encouraged to use an antigen test.

At-home antigen test results will not be reported as part of the county's total number of COVID-19 cases.

As of Friday, 253,136 cases and 1,976 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in Santa Clara County.

Watch the full press conference:

Comments

Brian
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Jan 21, 2022 at 10:34 pm
Brian, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 10:34 pm

Of course, when I tried to make an appointment at one of the sites that has the at-home tests, they were all full. I guess 60,000 tests were snapped up pretty quickly.


Jeremy Erman
Registered user
Midtown
on Jan 23, 2022 at 9:05 pm
Jeremy Erman, Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 23, 2022 at 9:05 pm

Sounds good, but Palo Alto Online recently posted that new state workplace rules forbid employees exposed to COVID-19 to self-administer and self-read tests at home. Doesn't that limit the usefulness of giving people tests to use at home?

Web Link

"Testing: If there's an outbreak at work, employers need to make FDA-approved COVID-19 tests available to exposed employees at no cost, during paid time — and now that also goes for vaccinated, asymptomatic workers who were exposed.

"Tests can no longer be self-administered and self-read. In other words, workers can't take a test at home by themselves. Tests that are processed by a lab, or observed by a medical professional during a telehealth appointment, or administered and observed by medical professionals or an employer are still okay."


helloit'sme
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2022 at 10:39 am
helloit'sme, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 24, 2022 at 10:39 am


To the Editor,

Why post this when all the COVID test pickup scheduling appointments have been taken? No more are available. Please update your story to reflect the current status. Thank you.


Barbara G
Registered user
Mayfield
on Jan 24, 2022 at 12:20 pm
Barbara G, Mayfield
Registered user
on Jan 24, 2022 at 12:20 pm

These were supposed to be available starting Saturday, but I logged in at 10 PM Friday night (plenty of opportunities), filled out a long. Involved form (yes - I have symptoms), and logged back in at 12:00:15 with my "You're registered" code, and all the tests were gone.

Meanwhile, Popcorn is suddenly offering unlimited tests for a fee. What a surprise. And I'm still sick.

There's no way all these tests disappeared by 15 seconds after midnight Friday.

Can we not prioritize seniors and frontline workers who have symptoms?


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