Santa Clara County orders hospitals to expand COVID-19 testing

Santa Clara County is ordering hospitals and large healthcare providers to expand COVID-19 testing, saying the brunt of the testing done so far has been done by the county and pop-up private testing sites.

A public health order issued Wednesday says hospitals and their associated clinics must provide testing to:

  • Those who are exhibiting coronavirus symptoms
  • Those who have been exposed to a known COVID-19 case
  • Frontline and essential workers, such as grocery workers, bus drivers and pharmacy employees

County officials say they need assistance from the major healthcare providers in order to meet the county’s testing goals.

COVID-19 testing officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib said Valley Medical Center has stepped up to the task, but Kaiser, Stanford and Palo Alto Medical Foundation all need to do more.

“We need the help. We ask everyone in the community to join us in this effort, and we felt it was necessary at this point to issue this order,” he said.

Santa Clara County was the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in the Bay Area when the virus was spreading rapidly in March. Since then, Alameda County has surpassed Santa Clara for the most known cases in the region.

As of Tuesday, Santa Clara County has 3,032 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 146 county residents have died.

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