Santa Clara County Tightens Testing Order for Private and Nonprofit Healthcare Providers

Santa Clara County has expanded its existing Covid-19 testing order for large-scale healthcare providers to make sure that diagnosis is more easily available for everyone.

County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody issued the revisions to the mandate initially enacted June 10, saying private providers need to step up to the plate.

“Our county is currently trending in the right direction, but additional testing is imperative for our community to effectively respond to Covid-19, and we can only get there as a community if our large healthcare providers do their part too,” Cody said at a press conference earlier this week.

Elected officials from throughout Santa Clara County are calling on large healthcare providers to comply with the testing order that was revised on Sept. 16.

The order is a legal requirement for large healthcare providers such as Kaiser Permanente, HCA Healthcare, Sutter Palo Alto Medical Foundation, and other private hospitals in Santa Clara County. Providers who fail to comply with the testing order may be subject to fines, according to county staff.

While large healthcare systems provide care to the majority of residents in Santa Clara County, the county’s own Santa Clara Valley Medical Center has handled the bulk of the testing, according to county staff. The average number of tests from the most recent reporting week (Aug. 31 to Sept. 6) is as follows: County of Santa Clara Health System (13,072), Kaiser Permanente (4,261), Stanford (3,243), Sutter Palo Alto Medical Foundation (1,426), El Camino Health (679), HCA Healthcare (633).

“The testing order requiring large healthcare systems to provide Covid-19 testing to essential workers and others has been in place since June 10, but we have been forced to take additional measures,” County Counsel James Williams said.

Increased testing is critical to ensure that everyone who is infected and might be spreading Covid-19 knows their status, takes care of their health and protects others by staying away, county staff said in a press release. Increased testing will also help the county stay in the state’s Red Risk Tier status or improve so more businesses, schools, places of worship and other activities can move forward and open.

Click here for more information on the state’s framework.

Mayors from 10 local cities spoke in support of the new order. Namely: San Jose’s Sam Liccardo, Sunnyvale’s Larry Klein, Saratoga’s Howard Miller, Gilroy’s Roland Velasco, Mountain View’s Margaret Abe-Koga, Morgan Hill’s Rich Constantine, Palo Alto’s Adrian Fine, Monte Sereno’s Liz Lawler, Los Altos’s Jan Pepper, Milpitas’s Rich Tran.

“This is the pathway to success in Santa Clara County,” county Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez said. “The more people who can easily get tested for Covid-19 by their healthcare providers the better chance we have to stay in the red tier or improve. That means more children get back to school and more people get back to work.”

The order requires certain healthcare providers within the county to offer Covid-19 diagnostic testing to symptomatic persons, persons who have been exposed to a confirmed Covid-19 case and all “essential workers.”

Examples of essential workers include teachers, healthcare workers, grocery store clerks, and persons who work in agriculture or food manufacturing.

Covid-19: By the Numbers

World: 30.2 million cases; 947,000 deaths

United States: 6.7 million cases; 198,000 deaths

Santa Clara County: 19,891 cases; 295 deaths

San Jose: 13,112 cases


  1. I can understand Dr. Cody’s alarm. Based on the first 10 days of September, county residents not confined to a long term care facility demonstrated an almost one in a million chance of dying of Covid on any given day (17 deaths over 10 days in a county of two million). After doing the math I was so shaken I raced over to Walmart to soothe myself among those likely to go before me. Folks must have thought me crazy as I walked about whistling a happy tune amidst the grossly obese in the chip aisle, the oxygenated COPD suffers, the hacking heavy smokers, and the stick figure alcoholics with their half-gallons of cheap vodka.

    By the way, I separated the long term health care residents just for clarity. Members of that small population are kicking off at a rate of 1.4 a day (attributed to Covid, but comorbidities assumed).

    Speaking of comorbidities, I just learned the Supreme Court is now one short.

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