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Simitian Pushes North County Partnerships for COVID Testing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                            

May 22, 2020


For More Information, Contact:

Charlsie Chang

(408) 299-5050 office

(626) 898-2395 cell



SAN JOSE – Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian today announced three pending COVID-19 testing sites in Mountain View for County residents looking to get tested.

Simitian said plans are in the works for:

·      Community-wide testing led by and in partnership with Planned Parenthood Mar Monte in Mountain View;

·      Community-wide testing led by and in partnership with El Camino Hospital in Mountain View; and,

·      Community-wide testing offered directly by Santa Clara County using a mobile testing van, beginning in and returning to Mountain View.

Simitian also noted that, “The City of Mountain View in particular deserves a shoutout for helping with locations and logistics, which are indispensable to the success of these efforts.”

Planned Parenthood

“I think there’s every reason to believe Planned Parenthood can get its site up and running by the first week of June,” said Simitian. “The folks at Planned Parenthood already have experience testing their own patients locally, and they’ve been operating testing sites for the broader community in other parts of the state. That experience will serve us well here in Santa Clara County,” said Simitian.

Simitian and his office have been in touch with officials at Planned Parenthood throughout the course of this past week, and have worked to make sure that County staff and Planned Parenthood officials are working collaboratively. The two organizations are working through logistical issues such as who will provide necessary supplies and personnel.

El Camino Hospital

Simultaneously, Simitian said his office has been working with the leadership at El Camino Health (notably, CEO Dan Woods) to forge a partnership with the County as well. “El Camino’s CEO Dan Woods expressed his enthusiasm for such an effort right from the start,” said Simitian, “and the effort got a significant boost earlier this week when the El Camino Healthcare District Board authorized an expenditure of up to $1 million dollars to be devoted to community-wide testing for District residents.”

Woods and County CEO Jeff Smith spoke by phone yesterday to confirm their mutual desire to work collaboratively, and stand up a testing effort in Mountain View. Simitian noted that El Camino also has facilities in Los Gatos, and expressed hope that testing efforts might be expanded in the County’s West Valley communities as well.

“We are pleased to be able to do our part and help fund testing efforts within our district,” said Gary Kalbach, El Camino Healthcare District Board Chair.  “The Board was united in supporting this pressing healthcare need and making tests more widely available.”

Mobile Testing

And finally, County officials have just announced the deployment of a mobile testing van operated by the County’s Valley Medical Center which can travel throughout the county. After completing tests in a trial run earlier this week, the van’s first official deployment will be in Mountain View.

The mobile testing van will make its first visit to Mountain View this coming Monday, May 25th (Memorial Day) at the Mountain View Community Center in the Rengstorff Park Pool Area located at 201 Rengstorff Avenue from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m.

“We’re finally getting some traction on testing,” said Simitian. “It’s not yet as much as I’d like to see, and it’s certainly not as fast as I’d like to see, but it’s progress.” Simitian said he has been pushing for a more robust testing program since early March because, “You can’t fight the virus if you can’t see it, and you can’t see if you don’t do the testing.” Simitian notes that a stepped-up testing program is important in a number of respects:

·      To find those who are infected with COVID-19 whether symptomatic or without any symptoms;

·      Protecting co-workers and family who might be at higher risk if infected by the virus;

·      As a key to keeping the community safer, allowing for more confidence in making any changes in the current order, and charting a path back to normal;

·      As a tool for businesses, nonprofits and schools to keep themselves safe when operations resume; and,

·      So friends and families can safely reconnect.

Simitian said that it has been particularly frustrating to see existing testing capacity underutilized, a fact he attributes to a lack of clarity about who can access available sites and how. "We need to make it easy for people who need or simply want to get tested to find a place they can go – quickly and conveniently. And we need to communicate that information in a fashion that is clear, crisp, and consistent.”

“In my view, anyone who wants a test should be able to get one, if only because it's in the interest of our entire county to have a clearer picture of what's happening throughout the community,” said Simitian. Simitian said County staff has expressed concern that the existing capacity will be overwhelmed, but for now, he's more concerned that, “Our existing capacity has been underwhelmed, and that's a problem."

“Convenience is key,” said Simitian. “If we want more people to be tested, making locally available and convenient sites is essential. This combination of locations centered in Mountain View will be relatively easy to access for North County residents living in Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Stanford, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills; residents from throughout the County, however, will benefit from access to these sites as well.”

"Every set of criteria for reopening includes some minimum number of tests, so we've got to stay on it,” said Simitian. The target for May 31 is 4,000 tests a day; eventually, though, County staff estimates the need for more than 15,000 test a day in order to track and contain the virus. “That,” said Simitian, "will be a very big lift."


Last updated: 6/4/2020 9:51 AM