By Len Ramirez

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Santa Clara County officials are calling out private health care companies for not stepping up their COVID-19 testing.

In June, the Public Health Department ordered private health care providers to greatly expand their COVID-19 testing back in June as one of the best ways of slowing down the pandemic. Today, health department officials are frustrated that those private companies are still lagging behind.

“This is our eyes, this is what enables us to see what is going on,” said county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody.

On Wednesday, Cody re-issued a revised order because the companies are still not testing enough.

“There really is no excuse for large health care systems to not have stepped up and done their fair share,” said county Supervisor Joe Simitian.

In the first week of September, the county did 13,072 COVID tests. Private companies – including Kaiser Permanente, Stanford, HCA, Sutter Health, and El Camino – did a combined 10,242 tests, according to Santa Clara County’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Kaiser issued a statement saying quote: “Kaiser Permanente agrees more testing needs to be done throughout our communities, and we are
committed to making testing timely and accessible for our members.”

The statement went on to say the company is complying with state orders on testing, is expanding testing labs, and revising its website and call centers.

“We have seen and heard that some health care providers discourage COVID-19 testing or make it hard to access,” said Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams.

The county says the next step is to fine health care companies if they still don’t comply. Cody says the need for more testing is critical now as schools are about to re-open.

 

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