SAN JOSE, Calif. - Santa Clara County opened a free walk-up COVID-19 testing sight on Tuesday—one of three new pop-up sites available this week in the county.
Officials said they are close to reaching their goal of averaging 4,000 tests per day. Reaching that mark will better aid health experts in understanding of where potential hot-spots could emerge.
It’s been a long time since there’s been a long line outside the SAP Center in downtown San Jose.
“I am here; waited in line for a little bit, but not bad. All-in-all, not a bad experience,” said San Jose resident Andrew Knott.
He and hundreds of other people were not there for entertainment, but health. What’s known as the “Shark Tank” is now home to Santa Clara County’s newest pop-up COVID-19 testing sight.
“This is our largest testing center so far. We actually have two of our teams that we put together, to accommodate a large crowd here,” said Dr. Jennifer Tong, associate chief medical officer at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.
For six hours a day, from Tuesday through Saturday, Santa Clara County health officials have joined forces with the San Jose Sharks hockey team, offering free testing to upwards of 1,000 people per day. Most of the people tested said they were asymptomatic but wanted reassurance.
“We have kept ourselves pretty isolated. But just to be safe, I think it’s a good idea,” said San Jose resident Christine Mendoza, who is planning a trip to visit her elderly mother.
The entire process takes about an hour, ending with a nasal swab. The SAP testing location is the 57th such pop-up testing site in the county.
“I think it’s absolutely wonderful. There’s supposed to be free testing. But it took me a while to find it. And it wasn’t until I got on social media this morning that I found out they were having it down here. Which is fantastic for everybody,” said Knott.
Experts say the results aid in the understanding of the virus and forming stratagem for its defeat.
“The more testing we do the more we know how far it's spread. What the extent of the infection is. How many people have it. And we can begin to get a sense of where it is,” said Dr. Mark Schwartz, a biotechnologist at San Jose State University. Added Dr. Tong, “We continue to see cases of people who are testing positive even though they’ve never had symptoms. And we worry a lot about them passing the virus.”
Health department officials said they have flagged 100 people who tested positive for COVID-19 at the various testing sites around the county. For those tested at the SAP Center, results will be emailed in three to four days, unless the test is positive. In those instances calls will be made urging the postive patient to self-quarantine.