A Covid-19 testing site at Christopher High School in Gilroy is expected to go live this week.

Santa Clara County health officials made the announcement May 4, after Gov. Gavin Newsom said in late April that 80 such sites would open statewide in “underserved communities.” James Lick High School in San Jose will also serve as another testing site.

The new sites will be operated through a partnership with OptumServe, a health services business, and managed by the State of California.

The Christopher High School site can serve up to 132 people daily, according to the county. Testing is by appointment only, and will be open from 7am to 7pm Monday through Friday.

To schedule an appointment, call 1-888-634-1123 or visit lhi.care/Covidtesting.

“Testing is one of the most important tools we have to protect our community from Covid-19,” said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody. “These test sites are a welcome addition to testing capacity in our county. It is especially important to make testing readily available in communities that may have limited access. Our ultimate goal is that anyone, living in any neighborhood, can get access to testing, particularly those with symptoms of Covid-19, and those who work in settings where they may have frequent exposure.”

Gilroy Mayor Roland Velasco said the Christopher High testing site is a “great opportunity for all of South County.”

“We have to have these types of services throughout the county,” he said. “Only then will we be able to reopen our businesses.”

The county recently opened De Paul Health Center in Morgan Hill as a Covid-19 testing site. The site serves patients who have been referred by a Santa Clara County Health System physician.

The county also unveiled an online resource for testing information and access at sccgov.org/cv19testing. The page includes information about county and non-government locations where members of the public can be tested. It also includes information about testing for people who do not have insurance or access to a doctor.

As of May 5, Santa Clara County confirmed 2,255 Covid-19 cases, resulting in 121 deaths. Gilroy and Morgan Hill both had 43 cases.

According to county data, the average number of new cases has dropped in recent weeks compared to mid-April, even as the number of those tested has remained relatively stable. On May 5, the number of new cases was 13, while on May 4, 18 new cases were reported.

From late March to mid-April, the number of new cases ranged from 36 to 79 on a day-to-day basis.

A total of 132 people in the county are hospitalized due to the virus.

Some businesses can reopen

Gov. Gavin Newsom on May 4 announced that some businesses throughout the state can reopen as soon as May 8.

Those businesses include bookstores, clothing stores, florists and sporting goods stores. The businesses can only operate with curbside pickup services.

Newsom was expected to release more guidelines on May 7.

Restaurants and bars will still remain closed under the revised shelter-in-place order.

Counties can choose to continue more restrictive measures in place based on their local conditions, according to the state.

Reagent shortage hinders tests

Santa Clara County health officials have listed widespread testing for Covid-19 as an indicator to whether it’s safe to start opening back up. But a global shortage of reagents is holding back efforts to ramp up diagnosis.

Santa Clara County Executive Jeff Smith broke the news at a recent Health and Hospital Subcommittee that the public health department has the capacity to analyze about 340 tests a day. About a month ago, the capacity was at no more than 100.

In the coming weeks, Smith said county health officials want to increase testing capacity to 1,300 a day. But they’ve hit a roadblock getting there.

“We’re having problems with getting reagent,” Smith said. “We’re hopeful that within the next two to three weeks we’ll get sufficient reagent.”

Reagents are the chemicals used to extract the RNA that’s necessary to identify a virus. But a widespread shortage of the key testing ingredient for Covid-19 has made it more difficult to implement widespread testing in cities across the world.

Reporter Grace Hase contributed to this report.

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


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