SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — The city of San Jose and Santa Clara County on Wednesday announced free COVID-19 testing for all residents regardless of symptoms.
The free testing is being offered in partnership with as a service by the State of California in partnership with Alphabet, Inc. subsidiary Verily at PAL Stadium in East San Jose and at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds.READ MORE: Oakland A's Silent on Negotiations With City Over New Stadium
The push to test anyone whether they have symptoms or not is being made to significantly increase the number of people tested in the county.
“You do not need health insurance, you do not need to pay, you do not have to have symptoms, you can get tested here at Verily,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.
Liccardo and Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez along with health officials announced the free testing at a press conference at PAL Stadium Wednesday. The drive-through site is in San Jose’s East Side, which has seen a spike in cases.
Raw Video: Santa Clara County Announces Free COVID-19 Testing In San Jose Regardless Of Symptoms
Chavez implored residents to get tested as soon as they can as the county seeks to reach an average of 4,000 tests per day. Chavez also said that local officials can and will help residents who struggle to sign up for testing due to obstacles like language barriers.
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“If you have a difficult time signing up, you can call any of your local elected officials’ offices, particularly in San Jose, and we’re going to help you sign up,” Chavez said. “It’s really important that you do that.”
Santa Clara County is trying to pivot away from only testing people who are symptomatic or in close contact with someone who is.READ MORE: COVID: Breakthrough Cases Surge Among San Francisco Hospital Staff
“Now we’re moving to testing people who are at risk who are asymptomatic or who don’t show any symptoms whatsoever,” said Dr. Martin Fenstersheib of the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health.
The strategy change goes along with the county’s move to re-open more segments of the economy which will place more and more people at risk for contracting coronavirus in the coming weeks.
“The plan is to begin doing a lot of testing, so we capture any of those little fires that flare up,” said Dr. Fenstersheib.
One of the other new testing sites opened in the parking lot of the Antioch Baptist Church.
The pandemic has hit the elderly, lower-income, and communities of color especially hard. It’s hoped that people in those risk groups, including many essential workers, will take advantage of the free testing.
“I’m 84 and headed for more,” said resident Chuck Alexander, who is healthy, and has no symptoms. But he came in to get himself tested anyway.
“When you have an opportunity to get an idea of what’s going on medically, utilize it. It takes a lot of anxiety away,” Alexander said.
To be eligible, residents must be 18 years or older and electronically sign a COVID-19 authorization form and lab consent. Although testing was available for anyone whether they are symptomatic or not, residents were asked to access the online screener and appointment scheduling system at projectbaseline.com/COVID19 to screen their symptoms and make an appointment for testing.MORE NEWS: COVID: Highly-Contagious Delta Variant Has Some Parents Rethinking Back-To-School Plans
Len Ramirez contributed to this report.