By Robert Haugh
Last Friday, the County of Santa Clara opened up appointments for residents to pick up 60,000 free at-home COVID-19 antigen tests. Each person could get 4 tests. All appointments were booked that day.
Yesterday, the County opened up an additional 7,650 appointments. Anyone who lives, works, or attends school in the County may sign up at www.sccfreetest.org.
Appointments are necessary. Tests are not available on a drop-in basis. The County is also giving free N95 masks for those who receive the COVID-19 tests.
Here are the distribution sites for the tests and masks:
- Hellyer County Park, 985 Hellyer Ave., San José
- Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Ave., San José
- Vasona County Park, 333 Blossom Hill Road, Los Gatos
- Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills (offers evening hours)
People can also order free tests for the federal government online at COVIDTests.gov. They’ll be shipped through the U.S. Postal Service as first-class mail. It’ll take 7-12 days after ordering.
Here’s advice from the federal website when you should take an at-home test:
- If you begin having COVID-19 symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, or
- At least 5 days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, or
- When you’re going to gather with a group of people, especially those who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines.
Starting this week, private insurers will have to cover the at-home tests that are bought in pharmacies and stores. But that system is still being worked out.