The number of people getting tested for coronavirus is dropping as more people are vaccinated.
New numbers from the California Department of Public Health show testing rates statewide have fallen by more than 60% since January's peak. In Santa Clara County, testing is down 34% when compared to the numbers from January.
Long lines of people waited Monday to get a COVID vaccine at the Santa Clara County fairgrounds while across the street a few people could be seen waiting in cars to get tested for coronavirus.
Health leaders said even as vaccinations ramp up, testing is still an important weapon in the fight against COVID, especially with new more contagious variants emerging.
"It allows us to quickly understand if someone is infected and to keep that person from infecting others," Santa Clara County Testing and Vaccine Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib said. "It also allows us to detect concerning variants and testing is the only way to find a variant."
And without testing its hard to get an accurate picture of the number of infections circulating.
Fenstersheib said even though essential workers may have been vaccinated, he still recommends they get tested frequently as often as once a week. He also said others who have been vaccinated and out in the public should consider getting tested.
Right now there is still not enough vaccine supply and not everyone is eligible to get a shot, which is why Stanford infectious disease specialist Dr. Dean Winslow said testing is critical.
"As we roll out the vaccine, it is still very important that we are able to identify symptomatic cases and that do screening of high-risk populations," Winslow said. "It's the only way we can get control of the pandemic."