SAN JOSE (KPIX) – Santa Clara County will be opening two new free COVID-19 testing sites in communities that are underserved. One will be at Christopher High School in Gilroy, and the other will be on the campus of James Lick High School, in East San Jose.
The James Lick site is a separate classroom wing that was designed for a fire science program, which was discontinued. It comes complete with classrooms, offices, restrooms and parking.READ MORE: California Drought: Water Crisis ‘Couldn’t Be Worse’ On Oregon-California Border
“There is enough space to keep people at a safe distance while they test.
“The entrance and exits will be separate, so that never does anyone have to interact, so that social distance will be maintained,” said Principal Marco Vicente Menendez.
The testing area is across campus from the location where free school lunches are provided to the community.
The tests will be free and accessible at the East San Jose campus starting on Wednesday.
“This will be a diagnostic test that will be provided to any member of this neighborhood and the public that has COVID-like symptoms,” said David Campos, Deputy Executive of Santa Clara County.READ MORE: Newsom Budget Targets Cleaning Up California; 'The State’s Too Damn Dirty'
It’s all part of an effort that was started by Governor Newsom to open 80 sites throughout California to provide testing to underserved communities.
This part of East San Jose has a large Latino population, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. Latinos make up 27 percent of the county population but have 38 percent of the COVID-19 cases.
“Many people are having to make hard decisions, on whether to pay rent or buy food. Broadening and providing testing sites in our most vulnerable communities is a big and needed step in addressing inequities and systematic barriers that are keeping our people at higher risk for exposure,” said Jacky Franco, a community leader with East Side Peace Partnership.
The free tests will be administered by OptumServe, a private provider contracted by the state. Appointments can be made by calling 1-888-634-1123 or by visiting http://www.lhi.care/covidtesting.
The centers will have the capacity to do 132 tests per day, and appointments are necessary.
“What our goal is to make sure that tests are available for everybody. Everybody needs access to them,” said Cindy Chavez, President of the Board of Supervisors.MORE NEWS: University of California Drops SAT, ACT Test Scores From Admission Requirements
The tests at James Lick and Christopher High in Gilroy will be available on Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.