Santa Clara Co. launches new high-capacity COVID-19 testing site

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A new COVID-19 testing site at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose is offering new hope in the fight against the deadly disease.

"We started here as really ground zero for COVID here in the United States and six months in we're still fighting," said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County health officer. "One of the most important tools to get us out is testing - testing, testing, testing."

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With the addition of this high-capacity testing site, the county says it will have the ability to initially test up to 1,000 people per day, just at this location alone. The fairgrounds will eventually be able to accommodate up to five times that amount.

Cody added, "That is how we're going to get our businesses back to work and that is how we're going to get our kids back in school and learning. It's testing, alright?"

The Santa Clara County health system, which includes Valley Medical Center, currently accounts for nearly 40-percent of daily testing. Officials say people should be able to get their results back within three days, thanks to a new partnership with a lab in Southern California.

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"It's a drive-thru, and so, if you have symptoms, you can come to this site, stay in your car, and get the fast, simple, and free test," said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, Santa Clara County COVID-19 Testing Officer.

The county has other pop-up testing locations available to the public, but this specific drive-thru site is targeted at those who may have symptoms or who may be at higher risk. Appointments are required for the time being. The location also offers testing for pedestrians and bicyclists.

"Really easy, super friendly people... explained everything they were doing, it made it really comforting," said Los Gatos resident Allison Greenlee, who came to get tested for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

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Flu shots will also be offered at the site this fall. Down the road, the county hopes to offer COVID-19 vaccines, when those become available.

"Anybody six months and older should be getting the flu shot, except for small groups of people with immunocompromised conditions, and you should check with your provider to see if you fall into that very small group," said Stanford infectious disease expert Dr. Yvonne Maldonado.

The testing component is crucial as the country ramps up to deal with the flu and the coronavirus at the same time.

"Get tested, know your status, and take action," said Cody. "Spread the word to friends and family and co-workers to do the same."

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