Santa Clara Co. offering free at-home COVID tests to residents; here's what you need to know

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Sixty-thousand at-home antigen COVID tests are set to be given out for free in Santa Clara County starting Saturday.

Appointments to pick up the tests opened up Friday. The tests are to be given to those who live, work or go to school in Santa Clara County.

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In total, the county has four distribution sites.

By Friday afternoon, the county website to book the appointment showed slots at Martial Cottle Park booked until Monday.

"Through this system 15,000 appointment slots will be available and each individual will receive four tests per appointment," said Megan Doyle, Deputy County Executive.

The tests themselves are coming from a Santa Clara County-based company called iHealth.

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PCR tests are still being offered but, in many situations, the antigen test is the recommended option.

"People who recently tested positive for the virus and have met criteria for leaving isolation based on CDC guidelines but may need a negative test to do so," said Dr. Jennifer Tong, Associate Chief Medical Officer, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

Another good use of it is Dr. Tong says is if you have symptoms or exposure and can't get to a PCR test right away.

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The county says work is being done to make sure people in, what they call, at-risk communities have access to the tests, working with community-based organization teams to bring them door-to-door.

As far as the status of omicron in the county, officials say we are starting to see a decrease in the surge but it's still prevalent in the community.

"At-home testing is another tool in our toolbox to help us fight the ongoing surge to help keep our community safe and healthy," Dr. Tong said.

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