Hospitals, medical groups and even fire departments are rolling out more testing sites hoping to get a grasp on how many people are infected with COVID-19 as part of its ongoing struggle to deal with the mounting pandemic.
But emergency response planners in San Jose estimate there could be tens of thousands of coronavirus cases that we don’t even know about and they’re sounding alarms about what could be a devastating death toll.
One of four new testing sites was revealed Thursday in Daly City by North East Medical Services.
"We really believe that is a great strategy to do more testing so that we can isolate and contain the virus and really blunt the curve,” said Dr. Kenneth Tai from North East Medical Services.
The Bay Area-based medical group is opening another in San Jose and two more in San Francisco next week.
The drive-up testing sites are in high demand as people worry about infections.
In Hayward, the drive through testing site operated by fire fighters released its first batch of numbers. On Monday, 207 people were tested and 54 of them are positive for coronavirus.
That is the kind of data medical and emergency response planners need to get a better idea of the Bay Area’s infection rate.
This week, San Jose Deputy City Manager Kip Harkness gave grim projections.
“Our estimate is that there are between 9,000 and 19,000 actual cases in Santa Clara County right now," he said.
He delivered the estimates during a city council meeting using modeling of infections compiled by city data analysts.
Harkness predicts that if people don’t comply by the shelter-at-home order, there will be nearly 8,000 deaths by May.
“Even in that best case scenario, we are looking at the order in the next 12 weeks of 2,000 potential deaths directly from COVID-19," he said.