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, 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 Community 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, https://covid19.sccgov.org/covid-19-testing. 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 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 symptoms in the 90 days following a positive test and recovery from COVID 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.