Community leaders go door-to-door offering COVID-19 tests in one California county

Community leaders go door-to-door offering COVID-19 tests in one California county
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Santa Clara County has begun offering free door-to-door coronavirus tests for residents in light of the rising case numbers.

California on Saturday reported the most single-day deaths and cases it has recorded since the pandemic began, confirming 225 COVID-19 deaths and 35,729 new cases.

Community leaders in Santa Clara county began a door-knocking campaign to provide free self-administered nose swab tests, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The program first focused on East San Jose where the largely Latino population lacks easy access to tests.

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"We recognize our communities in East San Jose are being hardest hit by the COVID pandemic," Dr. Analilia Garcia, Santa Clara County’s racial and health equity director, said. 

Latino individuals make up 55 percent of cases though they only account for 26 percent of the county’s population.

The Chronicle notes that among the nine counties in the Bay Area, Santa Clara has been hit the hardest by the pandemic. The county’s intensive care units are nearing capacity with 27 percent of beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.

According to the most recent data from Santa Clara County, 446 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. The county has so far experienced nearly 46,000 cases and 526 deaths.

"For the last few months, we have been working with community partners to do outreach and engagement,” said Garcia. “We recognize there’s fear and mistrust about COVID-19 and especially testing and what people can expect if they test positive. We have been focused on bringing testing into neighborhoods and households as another opportunity to mitigate the barriers to accessing a test."

County testers that are being sent out are bilingual, according to Garcia, and they will show up unannounced while wearing protective gear. If no one is home, the testers will leave a flyer and community leaders will return to the home.

According to Garcia, the first home that community leaders visited for testing was very receptive to testing.