Santa Clara County announced that health professionals across the area have conducted more than 1 million coronavirus tests since the pandemic began.
That means, based on 2019 census estimates, that roughly half the county’s population has been tested to date (assuming no repeat tests). The county has administered 30% of the tests, with the rest of them administered by state health clinics as well as private healthcare providers that operate in the South Bay.
The Santa Clara County Health Department held a press conference to announce the milestone. Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, COVID-19 Testing Officer for Santa Clara County said that the high number of administered tests is in direct relation to the relatively low number of cases in the county.
According to the county’s Covid-19 Testing Dashboard, the county’s positivity rate is 1.7 percent, which is far lower than the state average of around 3%.
"The number of tests we have done has really aided us in being able to keep our numbers so low and our positivity rate is under 2%. You can look at that number and what some of the other states are doing, and we are doing quite well," said Dr. Fenstersheib.
Dr. Fenstersheib says that large Northern California health care centers have stepped up their testing over the last 2 months. That includes Kaiser Permanente which told KPIX that its testing efforts have increased 700% with more than 12,000 tests conducted each day.
According to Santa Clara County COVID dashboard, more than 25,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in the county since the pandemic started, and more than 400 people have died as of Tuesday.
Another reason the county seems to be leading the charge when it comes to testing is that, like San Francisco, it offers free tests without the need for a doctor’s referral. The county also promises not to ask about immigration statuses at the testing sites. When broken down by race, the county says the Latinx community accounts for 57% of positive cases.
If you or someone you know wants to schedule a free test at any of the county’s testing sites, you can make an appointment on the county’s test scheduling page.