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 clinical professionals are responsible for collecting samples and ensuring that they get delivered to a contracted lab.  Strict privacy laws are adhered to with the collection of personal data.
  3. What kind of COVID test is it? 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?  Approximately 72 hours.  If results are not received within 72 hours, email the Employee Test Help Desk at
  5. Do I still come to work after I get my negative COVID test result?  Yes, but 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.
  6. 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.
  7. What happens if I am positive?  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?  No.  Staff who test positive are not eligible for ATO.  Staff may telework or use FFCRA if available; and may utilize leave credits including CTB, NDI or SDI.  Direct ATO-related questions to:
  9. I have previously tested positive for COVID-19, do I need to test again?  Staff who have tested positive (confirmed by the EH RN) and have returned to work shall not test again until 90 days has elapsed from the date of that positive test.
  10. I took a COVID-19 antibody (serology) test, do I have to take the PCR test?  YES, you still have to take the PCR 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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

14. 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.

15. I have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Do I still need to go through screening to enter the facility? Yes. Do I still need to take the COVID-19 test during institution testing cycles? Yes.