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December 9, 2023

San Benito testing for COVID-19 at higher rate than all surrounding counties

There had been 785 people tested for COVID-19 at the Veterans Memorial Building since May 5 as part of expanded testing in San Benito County.

Health and Human Services Director Tracey Belton shared that update at Tuesday’s county board meeting. She added that Public Health Services is awaiting 246 results among those tests. 

“I know there’s been some delay receiving results,” Belton said. 

Of those 539 tests with confirmed results, there had been just one positive case as of this morning, she added. The county has had 61 total confirmed COVID-19 cases, while the reported infection rate has slowed considerably over the past month.

“We encourage everyone to continue getting tested,” Belton said. 

The federally sponsored testing program in downtown Hollister – aimed at rural communities – has a goal of testing 5,000 to 8,000 people in San Benito County. As a whole, widespread testing is viewed by public health officials as a key step toward further reopening of the economy. 

That additional testing also has contributed to a general spike of local COVID-19 tests over the past two weeks.

There had been 1,913 total COVID-19 tests in San Benito County as of Monday afternoon. There had been 1,017 total local tests taken as of May 4. That amounts to an 88 percent increase in just those two weeks. 

The jump also has catapulted San Benito County’s testing numbers in comparison with surrounding communities. 

San Benito County has tested at a rate of 3,045.8 per 100,000 residents. In comparison, Santa Clara County has tested at a rate of 2,647.7 per 100,000 residents. Santa Cruz County has tested 2,212.9 people per 100,000. And Monterey County has tested the lowest number at 1,172.9 per 100,000.

San Benito County also has a relatively low positivity rate for its testing – at 3.2 percent compared with 4.8 percent in Santa Clara County, 6.7 percent in Monterey County and 2.7 percent in Santa Cruz County.