Santa Clara County has surpassed 1 million tests for the novel coronavirus since the pandemic began in March, the county’s testing officer said Monday.
County COVID-19 testing officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib said between 7,000 and 8,000 tests are being conducted per day in Santa Clara County.
That includes tests conducted through the state’s testing infrastructure and by large health care companies and nonprofits like Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
“It’s been a community-wide effort,” Fenstersheib said at a Monday morning briefing on the testing milestone. “No one individual or facility has done it all themselves.”
Fenstersheib added that while free coronavirus testing is available to all county residents, some residents should be getting tested regularly and as often as once per month.
Fenstersheib used so-called essential workers like grocery store employees as well as health care workers as examples of residents who should be tested frequently.
“The more testing we do, yes we may find and we do find more cases, but then we are able to educate those people that are infected and to keep them safe and others around them safe until they are no longer infectious,” he said.
As of Sunday, 25,139 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the county, including 406 deaths. The county’s rate of new cases per day, however, has decreased sharply in recent weeks as testing availability has expanded.
Santa Clara County’s rate of new cases per day per 100,000 residents — one of the metrics state officials use to determine which businesses counties can reopen — has fallen from an adjusted 8.6 in late August to 3.4 as of last week.
The drop has allowed the county to move into the “orange tier” of the state’s color-coded reopening system, meaning businesses like restaurants and gyms can increase their indoor capacities and offices, bowling alleys and climbing gyms can reopen.
Residents can get tested for free at any county testing site regardless of immigration or insurance status.
Testing site information can be found in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese and Tagalog at sccfreetest.org or by calling 211.
Some testing sites require appointments and may have drive-through and walk-up options, according to the county.