In an effort to make a positive COVID-19 test less daunting to residents, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a program on Tuesday that would provide up to $5,000 in financial support and lodging for quarantining.
"Santa Clara County wants to make sure that people are not afraid to get tested and part of the reason people are afraid is because they don't have a proper place to quarantine or to isolate," Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez said during a news conference earlier this week.
The program has three main components to encourage residents to get tested and make it easier those who need to quarantine: additional motel and hotel rooms, financial and rental support and at-home support like meal delivery programs.
Nearly 10 percent of county residents would require some assistance if they or a family member tested positive and 5 percent would need a place to quarantine either because they are unhoused, live in a crowded household or live with an at-risk person, according to a county study.
"Here is our big message -- If you need to isolate, if you need to quarantine, there are support services for you," Chavez said. "We want everyone to know that if you take a test … the county and the cities are here to help."
The initiative, in partnership with 15 cities, will allocate more than $13 million, with more than half allotted for financial and rental assistance.
"We don't want people to not get tested even if they have been in contact with a positive case or have symptoms because… they are scared that they are going to lose their job and maybe not be able to pay rent," Chavez said.
Participating cities are contributing a total of $600,000 and helping the county identify vulnerable populations and available spaces for individuals to quarantine.
Chavez said the remaining cities not participating already have support programs in place, however all county residents are eligible for county support, regardless of a city's partnership.
There is a plethora of services available ranging from financial support to care services for elderly, young or at-risk family members. Most people are identified through contact tracing to utilize county services; however, anyone can sign up for assistance by going to https://www.sccgov.org/sites/opa/opa/covid19/Pages/home.aspx or calling (408) 299-5500 .