A person being tested for the coronavirus. (Photo via Mufid Majnun/Unsplash)

Self-administered COVID-19 testing, observed on-site is now being conducted at the Santa Clara County-run drop-in site in Gilroy, following a successful rollout at the other county-run drop-in site in East San Jose.

The self-administered tests went into use at the Emmanuel Baptist Church testing site in San Jose earlier this month and have proven to be easy, effective and popular. Those being tested are asked to watch a short instructional video and then self-swab both nasal cavities while being observed by trained county staff. Results are typically received within 48 hours. Nurses are on hand to help children, seniors, and others who need assistance.

“This method of testing means has been shown to be just as effective as nurse-administered swabs,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Officer for Santa Clara County. ” “That is crucial at this point in time, as we are seeing a critical need for nurses and medical staff in our hospitals and ICUs given the surge in COVID-19 cases.”

Holiday hours next week mean there will be no testing on Friday, Dec. 25, although the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds site will operate all other days including Dec. 24. An additional pop-up opportunity will be open in Milpitas on Tuesday, and the San Jose and Gilroy drop-in sites have additional hours on Monday.

Next week, appointment-only county COVID-19 testing will be conducted at sites in San Jose, Milpitas, Morgan Hill and Santa Clara. Appointments can be made starting seven days in advance of the testing date until all slots are reserved at www.sccfreetest.org. Appointment-based testing is also available in San Jose at the fairgrounds, with appointments now available five days in advance. Testing is free at all these sites.

Appointments are essential for reserving a testing slot; make them by going to www.sccfreetest.org and clicking on “Schedule an Appointment Today.” Text message results are available at appointment-based Santa Clara County testing facilities, and a flu test is included.

In San Jose, go to the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds Parking Lot A (across from the blue arch). Drive-through, bike, and walk-up appointments can be made there. Appointment hours at the San Jose sitre are Monday, Dec. 21, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 22 – 23, 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Thursday, Dec. 24, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 26-27, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

In Milpitas, testing is at the Milpitas Sports Center, 1325 E. Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas, By appointment only for Monday, Dec. 21, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In Morgan Hill, testing will be at the Morgan Hill Council Chamber Building, 17555 Peak Ave., with appointments available Tuesday, Dec. 22, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In Santa Clara, testing is available at the Santa Clara Central Park Library, 2635 Homestead Road, by appointment only for Wednesday, Dec. 23, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Pop-up testing sites, for people without symptoms and where no appointments needed, are at:

*** San Jose — Emmanuel Baptist Church, 467 N. White Road, Monday through Wednesday, Dec. 21 – Dec. 23, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

*** Gilroy — South County Annex (formerly Del Buono Elementary) , 9300 Wren Ave., Monday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and at San Ysidro Park, 7700 Murray Ave., Wednesday only from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

*** Milpitas — San Jose City College Milpitas Extension, 1450 Escuela Parkway, Tuesday, Dec. 22, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The county’s test sites provide COVID-19 tests free of charge, regardless of immigration status, and no doctor’s note is needed. At some County test sites, people with insurance may be asked to provide their insurance information, so that payment from the insurance company can be collected. However, patients won’t be billed for any co-pay, deductible, or any other cost for testing. Those without health insurance or those who do not provide insurance information can still get a test at those sites.

All test sites are mapped on the Santa Clara County website at www.sccfreetest.org. The site is available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Tagalog. Information is also available by calling 2-1-1.