Santa Clara County orders all large healthcare providers to increase COVID-19 testing

As Santa Clara County moves further in reopening, county health leaders want more safeguards in place to contain any COVID-19 flare-ups. 

The county's shelter-in-place order is gradually being eased and at some point people will begin gathering closely together again. But that brings about greater risks of exposure. 

On Wednesday, the county's top public health officer Dr. Sara Cody issued a new order requiring all large healthcare systems offer COVID-19 testing to patients within their networks. 

Under the order, hospitals must test patients who have COVID-19 symptoms, had close contact with an infected person, or frontline workers.  

“Just as we expect all health care providers to test their patients for other communicable diseases and conditions that put their health at risk, healthcare providers need to test their patients for COVID-19,” said Cody. 

The order applies to the following hospitals and their clinics:  the County of Santa Clara Health and Hospital System, El Camino Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Regional Medical Center, and Stanford Healthcare. 

Although access to testing has significantly increased in recent weeks, far more testing is needed, county health officials said.