CDCR/CCHCS COVID‑19 staff testing FAQs

Updated as of Aug. 8, 2022

  1. Is there a cost at the time of testing or will I be charged a co-pay from my health care provider?  No, testing is paid for by the Department.
  2. Who is doing the testing? Trained health care professionals are responsible for collecting samples and providing results.  Strict privacy laws are adhered to with the collection of personal data.
  3. What kind of COVID test will I be taking? For those at adult institutions and the Richard A McGhee Correctional Training Academy the Point-of-Care (POC) rapid antigen nasal swab testing will be used. For all other locations such as DJJ, field offices, and headquarters, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized COVID-19 Anterior Nasal (nasal swab) and Oropharyngeal (throat swab) test utilizing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing.
  4. How long will it take to get my results?  The POC tests take approximately 15 minutes. The PCR tests take approximately 72 hours.  If results are not received within 72 hours, contact the Employee Test Help Desk.
  5. How will I be notified of my test results?  You will be sent a text message and/or e-mail with a link to access your test results. When you check in for your COVID-19 test, verify that the vendor has the phone number and email address to which you want your results sent. If you do not provide an e-mail, the default will be your CDCR e-mail address on file.
  6. What happens if I test positive at work? If the results return positive after a POC test, you will asked to return to the vendor for a confirmatory Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test (if still on shift). You will also be asked to leave the institution for required COVID quarantine/isolation. Refer to existing materials on COVID-19 quarantine and isolation protocols.
  7. What if I test positive at home? Do not report to work.  Follow existing call out procedures.Contact your Return to Work Coordinator (RTWC) for assistance with the return to work process.  An Employee Health RN will conduct a case investigation and contact tracing on all positive cases.
  8. Will I receive ATO if I am positive?  Supplemental Paid Sick Leave is available for all CDCR and CCHCS staff. The SPSL allows for up to 80 hours of 2022 COVID-19 related paid sick leave from January 1, 2022 through September 30, 2022.
  9. Do I still come to work after I test negative for COVID but am experiencing symptoms?  You must be able to pass the entrance screening questions prior to being permitted to enter an institution.  If you are experiencing symptoms, do not report to work, follow existing call out procedures, and consult with your personal health care provider for additional guidance.  If you begin feeling ill while at work, notify your supervisor and consult with your personal health care provider for additional guidance.
  10. I have previously tested positive for COVID-19, do I need to test again?  Staff who have tested positive (confirmed by the Employee Health Program (EHP)) and have returned to work are not subject to the surveillance testing until 90days has elapsed from the date of that positive test.  However, staff may be subject to POC testing as directed by local leadership and/or the EHP as part of outbreak response testing.
  11. I took a COVID-19 antibody (serology) test, do I have to take the POC test?  Yes, you still have to take the POC test. An antibody test, also called a serological test, can detect whether a person had the coronavirus and has since recovered. It is not known yet if having antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 can protect someone from getting infected again or, if they do, how long this protection might last.
  12. I recently had a COVID-19 test and it was negative, do I have to test again?  Yes, COVID-19 tests are a point in time test. Receiving a negative result does not mean you will not become positive in the future.
  13. Is this COVID-19 testing mandatory for all CDCR employees?  Testing is mandatory for all staff who work at adult institutions and youth facilities per to the United States District Court; Northern District of California Case No. 01-cv-01351-JST.
  14. If this is mandated, I should not be required to share my medical history with anyone other than my personal medical doctor.  Employees will not be asked any medical history information when testing.  Public Health Offices have the authority to provide results to the designated member(s) of the Employee Health Program.

Sharing Protected Health Information during the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis:  May share patient information with anyone as necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health and safety of a person or the public – consistent with applicable law (such as state statutes, regulations, or case law)

The department follows all laws, rules, regulations related to privacy.  The Employee Health Program staff have received training regarding employee privacy

  1. If I do not test what will happen? The testing is mandated according to the United States District Court; Northern District of California Case No. 01-cv-01351-JST. There is a potential for progressive discipline.
  2. I have received the COVID-19 initial series vaccine (Pfizer/Moderna 2 doses or Janssen 1 dose). Do I still need to go through screening to enter the facility? Yes.  All staff, regardless of vaccination status, should follow the self-screening entrance process.
  3. Do I still need to take the COVID-19 test during institution testing cycles? Any staff that are considered unvaccinated, partially-vaccinated, and booster-eligible but unboosted are subject to surveillance testing and must test during the institution testing cycles.
  4. What if I have a sincerely held religious belief that precludes me from completing COVID-19 tests? CDCR/CCHCS/CALPIA civil service employees who wish to submit an accommodation request due to a sincerely-held religious belief shall immediately contact their supervisor and local Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Coordinator. Religious accommodation requests for alternate COVID-19 testing may be submitted by staff in writing via a CDCR Form 2273, Request for Religious Accommodation, indicating the individual’s sincerely-held religious belief that precludes them from completing a nasal COVID-19 rapid antigen test.
  5. What if I have a need for a medical accommodation? CDCR/CCHCS/CalPIA civil service employees who wish to submit a request for a reasonable medical accommodation due to a qualifying medical, mental health, or developmental condition shall immediately contact their supervisor and local Return-to-Work Coordinator (RTWC). All CDCR/CCHCS/CalPIA requests require a CDCR Form 855, Request for Reasonable Accommodation and a healthcare provider’s written verification indicating limitations or restrictions from completing a nasal COVID-19 rapid antigen test and duration of the limitations or restrictions. CDCR/CCHCS/CALPIA civil service employees with a pending or approved request for a religious accommodation or reasonable medical accommodation shall continue to report to work, obtain saliva testing twice-weekly with at least 48-72-hours between each test (for institution-based staff) or once-weekly (for non-institution-based staff).