Free coronavirus testing will be provided at several Santa Clara County sites in the coming week, mostly by appointment but on a drop-in basis in at least two locations.
The county is offering two walk-in pop-up sites. They require no appointments but are only for people without symptoms. One is in San Jose at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 467 N. White Road, and will be open until Feb. 19 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The other is in Gilroy at the South County Annex (formerly Del Buono Elementary school) at 9300 Wren Avenue, and will be open the same days from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The pop-up sites are switching to saliva-based testing after a successful trial at Emmanuel Baptist Church this past week, officials said Saturday. The Gilroy pop-up site started doing saliva testing Feb. 17.
Saliva testing simplifies testing and is less invasive, “providing a faster and easier experience,” the county said in a news release. County testing and vaccine officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib said the county is seeking to make testing as easy and safe as possible, and urged essential workers and anyone at risk of coronavirus exposure to get tested regularly.
People getting spit tested must not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum for at least 30 minutes before saliva collection, the county advised.
The county is also offering by-appointment testing at sites visited by a bus from the state coronavirus testing task force. Drop-in testing may be available if space allows, the county said. Registration for a patient ID is needed for this mobile bus testing and can be done online at www.lhi.care/covidtesting or by phone at 1-888-634-1123.
In San Jose, bus-based testing will take place at Costco Business Center, 2376 S. Evergreen Loop on Feb. 17 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The mobile testing will also be available in San Jose at Andrew Hill High School at 3200 Senter Road on Feb. 21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In Campbell, mobile testing will take place at Rosemary Elementary school at 401 W. Hamilton Avenue on Feb. 20 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Appointment-based testing continues every day at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose, and appointments there can be made five days in advance. The county will offer rotating, appointment-only testing this upcoming week in Mountain View, Cupertino, Campbell, and Los Gatos, and appointments can be made starting seven days before the testing date.
The Fairgrounds testing in San Jose takes place at 344 Tully Road, in Parking Lot A, across from the blue arch, with drive-through, bike, and walk-up visits.
Appointment hours for the Fairgrounds are Feb. 16 to Feb. 18 from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Feb. 19 from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; and Feb. 20 to Feb. 21 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
In Cupertino, by-appointment testing will take place at the Cupertino Senior Center at 21251 Stevens Creek Boulevard on Feb. 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In Campbell, by-appointment testing will take place at Orchard City Banquet Hall at 1 W. Campbell Avenue on Feb. 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In Los Gatos, by-appointment testing will take place at the Los Gatos Adult Recreation Center at 208 E. Main Street on Feb. 19 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Appointments can be made by visiting www.sccfreetest.org and clicking on “Schedule an Appointment Today.” An influenza test is included.
The county provides tests for free, regardless of immigration status, and requires no doctor’s note. At some county testing sites, people may be asked for their insurance information, so payment from the insurer can be collected, but test recipients won’t be billing for any co-pay, deductible, or other cost, and uninsured people or those not providing insurance information can still get tested, according to the county.
For frontline workers — including grocery and food-service workers, first responders, health care workers, care providers, transit workers, childcare and school workers, agriculture workers and people working in shelters and jails — current public health guidance recommends testing at least once a month and up to once every two weeks, with continued testing even after being vaccinated, the county said.