“Since the beginning of the pandemic, Stanford Medicine has been committed to supporting COVID-19 testing for the greater Bay Area community and to date has partnered with medical facilities across 14 Northern California counties,” said Christina Kong, MD, medical director and chief of pathology for Stanford Health Care, who also serves on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 Testing Task Force.
“Within days of Stanford Health Care’s COVID-19 test receiving FDA authorization on March 4, the hospital made it available to other medical facilities that lacked access to timely testing in Northern California,” Kong said. This included large hospital systems and clinics such as Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, UCSF and Kaiser Permanente in Northern California. By April 1, the Stanford Clinical Virology Laboratory had conducted 10,000 tests, which accounted for about one-third of all of the state’s tests at the time — evidence of the lab’s crucial role in ramping up testing.
Shifting focus to local facilities, health care workers
As these regional medical organizations developed their own COVID-19 testing, Stanford Health Care shifted to providing testing to community health clinics, health care workers, first responders, essential workers and congregate living facilities. Stanford Medicine developed the COVID-19 Guide for First Responders and Essential Workers app to facilitate access to testing.
About 2.5 million tests have been conducted in California, according to the state’s public health department. As of June 10, 93,623 tests had been conducted in Santa Clara County, the county’s public health department reported.
Stanford Health Care began providing outpatient testing in early March. At Stanford’s seven drive-through testing sites across the Bay Area, patients can receive testing by appointment following a video visit with a health care provider. Testing is available to all, even those who are not active patients of Stanford Health Care, by calling 650-498-9000.
“Providing testing is a fundamental effort we have successfully made to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the Bay Area,” said David Entwistle, president and CEO of Stanford Health Care. “Our rapid, early efforts to test our community — and more than 15,000 of Stanford Health Care’s own employees, medical residents and contractors — have played a key role in controlling the virus in our area. As our communities begin to reopen, we’re building on this work to ensure ample testing continues for anyone who needs it.”
Working with nursing homes
In addition to supporting testing at its own Bay Area hospitals and medical networks — Stanford Health Care, Stanford Children’s Health, Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare, University HealthCare Alliance and Packard Children’s Health Alliance — Stanford Medicine’s testing lab also actively works with several skilled nursing facilities in Santa Clara County to provide surveillance testing as recommended by the county, Kong said. These facilities contacted Stanford Health Care through the intake form on the hospital’s COVID-19 testing website. The Stanford Clinical Virology Laboratory is preparing to significantly increase its testing capacity in July and will be more readily available to support testing for other organizations who reach out.
As the county’s shelter-in-place orders were eased, Stanford Health Care began on May 4 to resume nearly all the procedures it had put on hold when the order was first made in mid-March. To do so safely, the hospital and clinics require pre-procedure testing for all patients and routine testing for health care workers.
“Easing of the shelter-in-place order will likely expose more people, so our latest County health order aims to increase testing for our three highest-risk groups: the symptomatic person, the contact to a confirmed case, and those at-risk because of their front-line work,” said Martin Fenstersheib, MD, of the Santa Clara County Health Department. “Stanford Health Care began providing testing early on when there were barriers for other health facilities, and led the way in getting testing out to other providers and the community.”
As the only Level 1 trauma center between San Jose and San Francisco, Stanford Health Care remains under orders to be ready for a potential surge in COVID-19 cases and serves as a community resource for the larger Northern California region.