The County of Santa Clara is opening a new COVID-19 testing site, run by Valley Medical Center, which is anticipated to become the highest capacity test center in the region. Testing capabilities at the site will be up to 1,000 people daily by week’s end, with the ability to expand to up to 5,000 people per day, more than any other site in the Bay Area. The location has also been identified for large scale flu shots in the fall and as a future COVID-19 vaccine location if vaccines become available.
The Santa Clara County Fairgrounds testing center is larger in scale than the Verily site that occupies a different portion of the fairgrounds. The site offers language services, including Spanish-speaking staff and dedicated lanes for those who may need language assistance.
“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,” said Santa Clara County Health Officer and Director of Public Health Dr. Sara Cody.
There will be 10 lanes to facilitate large numbers of patients – a number that is expected to increase. The bulk of the lanes are to be used for vehicle traffic, although there are also lines to accommodate walk-up and bicycle traffic.
“We will be testing 1,000 people by the end of the week, with a plan of testing up to 5,000 people per day,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, the County’s COVID-19 Testing Officer. “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.”
“This testing site has tremendous potential for our residents in one-stop,” said Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez. “Should a COVID-19 vaccine become available in the future, the County will need large service centers such as this to administer the vaccine. I’m very pleased to see this facility is in a central location serving residents countywide.”
Drive-through testing is suitable for those showing symptoms of COVID-19 as well as asymptomatic individuals. Testing can identify COVID-19 before a person feels unwell or before they spread it to another individual with potentially deadly consequences. Testing is encouraged for asymptomatic individuals who came in contact with someone with COVID-19, as well as anyone who works on the frontlines in construction, supermarkets, restaurants, childcare or who regularly rides public transit. Individuals who have recently attended a gathering, party, or large family function are also encouraged to get tested.
The County is offering testing free of charge to people with and without insurance. People wanting to be tested can register in advance on line.
In addition to the new fairgrounds location, there are more than 50 COVID-19 test locations in Santa Clara County -- sites at community centers and schools, hospitals and clinics, sites that rotate daily among various cities, and mobile testing centers. Summary data are published on the County’s COVID-19 Testing Dashboards.
The testing sites provide COVID-19 viral detection tests free of charge with and without an appointment, symptoms, insurance, or a doctor’s note, and regardless of immigration status. Locations may change each week based on assessment of testing needs.
For those with health insurance, the County sites are not the only available opportunity to get a free COVID-19 test. Large healthcare systems such as Kaiser Permanente, Sutter/Palo Alto Medical Foundation and others are required by County order to offer free testing to members who:
- Have COVID-19 symptoms.
- Have had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.
- Are at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 because they work in frontline settings.
County test sites and additional sites operated by other organizations are mapped on the County’s website at sccfreetest.org. The site is available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese and Tagalog. Information is also available by calling 2-1-1.
Flu shots will eventually be available at this site in anticipation of flu season.