COVID-19 Response, MEMOs, Testing, Testing

Updates to COVID‑19 testing requirements for institution and facility staff

This memorandum updates the COVID-19 testing requirements for California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS), and Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) institution/facility staff and supersedes the testing requirements outlined in previous communications, including parts of the August 23, 2021, September 20, 2021, and January 28, 2022, memoranda that relate to staff testing. The term “staff” herein refers to CDCR, CCHCS, and DJJ civil service employees, health care registry providers, and contract workers who work in CDCR institutions and DJJ facilities.

Based on updates to existing orders issued by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH)*, the following changes to the staff testing requirements shall be effective September 17, 2022:

  • The routine weekly COVID-19 testing for staff who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or booster-eligible but did not receive a booster, including those who have an approved religious or reasonable medical accommodation, will be suspended except as specified on the next page. The last day of the weekly testing requirement will be September 16, 2022.
  • Pursuant to the updated CDPH order and current federal guidelines, staff who work in the Skilled Nursing Facility of Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) and are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or booster-eligible but did not receive a booster, shall continue to comply with routine screening testing. CCWF Hiring Authorities shall use their COVID-19 community transmission level as the trigger for staff testing frequency (see table below).
COVID-19 COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION LEVELMINIMUM TESTING FREQUENCY OF STAFF
LowNot recommended
MediumOnce a week
HighTwice a week
  • Staff who become symptomatic while at work or who are identified to be close contacts of a person with COVID-19 shall be required to test.
  • Hiring Authorities, in consultation with their mission’s Associate Director, Regional Health Care Executive, and Public Health may implement more stringent testing requirements for staff, regardless of vaccination and accommodation status, in response to COVID-19 outbreaks in the prison and/or medium to high COVID-19 community transmissions.

Institutional testing protocols are constantly evaluated and will be revised based on most current public health orders and ongoing surveillance of institution/facility and community level COVID-19 information. CDCR, CCHCS, and DJJ shall continue to assess conditions and may be required to reinstate, as needed, higher levels of testing and mitigation strategies to limit the spread of COVID-19 within our institutions/facilities.

As a reminder, current COVID-19 vaccination and booster requirements outlined in the August 23, 2021, September 20, 2021, and January 28, 2022 memoranda remain in effect.

If you have any questions or concerns, inquiries should be directed as follows:

  • For Wardens, contact your mission’s Associate Director, Division of Adult Institutions.
  • For Chief Executive Officers, contact your respective Regional Health Care Executive.
  • For DJJ, contact the Deputy Director.
  • For COVID-19 testing and other COVID-19-related topics, contact the Employee Health Program.

* The following CDPH orders were amended by the state public health officer on September 13, 2022, to reflect changes in statewide health care worker testing requirements: