Mayors: ‘Cannot reopen’ without more virus testing

Cities Association asks county for more testing capacity

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The mayors of Morgan Hill, Gilroy and 14 other cities signed a letter asking Santa Clara County officials to substantially increase COVID-19 testing capacities before reopening communities to normal business.

“The Governor’s Covid-19 Testing Task Force is asking for partnership and more testing sites for our communities but have not yet offered specific details,” reads the April 29 letter from the Cities Association of Santa Clara County. “We encourage you to consider forming a Santa Clara County Covid-19 Testing Task Force. Without dramatic scaling of testing from the current levels of approximately 600 tests per day to several thousand tests per day, we cannot reopen our county.”

The letter was addressed to County Executive Jeff Smith, County Public Health Officer Sara Cody and the board of supervisors.

In the letter, mayors ask county officials to begin “accelerated action to ramp up testing” for COVID-19, and request the county to establish a list of specific benchmarks: “Identify a clear goal or threshold—in unambiguous, quantitative terms—for testing frequency sufficient to safely re-open schools and most businesses in our County; make a comprehensive list of testing sites available to the public, including a description of the specific tests offered; identify the specific needs with regard to identification of testing sites, so that cities might help; identify the number of persons sufficient to deploy ample contact-tracing teams for a safe reopening of the economy; specify whether it needs cities to assist in lending their staff or identifying unemployed residents able to undergo training to support testing or contact tracing activities, and the number of persons needed for those tasks.”

The letter was signed by Morgan Hill Mayor Rich Constantine, Gilroy Mayor Roland Velasco and the mayors of Sunnyvale, Saratoga, Santa Clara, San Jose, Mountain View, Monte Sereno, Los Gatos, Los Altos, Cupertino, Palo Alto, Milpitas, Los Altos Hills and Campbell.