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Department of Health Services

COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 testing

Did you know that if you have COVID-19 symptoms, you are eligible for a free virtual visit with a doctor? COVID care through Sesame, a telehealth provider, is free to those 12 years and older. If you qualify for treatment, a medical professional can prescribe medication at no cost to you. Visit Sesame for a free telehealth appointment.

If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or you have symptoms, request a test from your health care provider or use an over-the-counter antigen test purchased at a local pharmacy.

When to get tested?

  • If you have symptoms, vaccinated or not, get tested immediately if you’re feeling any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If you were exposed, test within 3-5 days after last exposure and wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings and when near those at higher risk for severe COVID-19 disease.

PCR and antigen tests

Molecular tests are also known as PCR tests. The PCR molecular test is accurate and usually does not need to be repeated. Average turnaround time is one to three days, depending on lab processing.

  • If you test positive with a PCR test, isolate as described on our Isolation page. If possible, you can also contact your health care provider for guidance.
  • Organizations, such as businesses, health centers, congregate facilities, faith-based or community-based organizations and schools, can apply for on-site PCR testing by visiting California’s COVID-19 Testing Task Force’s Get Started page.

Antigen tests are also known as rapid tests or at-home tests. With antigen tests, positive results are usually accurate, though negative tests may need to be confirmed. Average turnaround time is quite fast, ranging 15 minutes to one hour, depending on the test and/or tester.

  • If you test positive with an antigen test, isolate as described on our Isolation page. If possible, you can also contact your health care provider for guidance.
  • Please fill in this form to self-report your at-home test result. Reporting your result is confidential. Once the form is submitted, you will receive links to isolation and quarantine guidelines and available resources.
  • If you have COVID-19, an antigen test is no longer recommended for ending isolation after day five. IF you are fever-free for 24 hours (without fever-reducing medicines) AND have no or improving symptoms you can end your isolation period.
  • If ending isolation before day 10, it is strongly recommended you wear a mask until after day 10 UNLESS you get two sequential negative antigen tests one day or more apart.

While waiting for your test results, continue to practice physical distancing, wear a face covering when near other people who are not in your household, and wash your hands often. If you do not have symptoms and have not been advised by a medical professional to quarantine at home, you may resume your normal activities. If you are experiencing symptoms, stay home, and keep your distance from others. For more information, see our Isolation page.

How to offer COVID-19 testing at your organization or business?

California Coronavirus Testing Task Force

Are you interested in supporting increased testing in our community? Partner with CDPH to provide free testing through the CA Testing Taskforce. All materials and training are provided by CDPH. To learn more, visit California Coronavirus Testing Task Force. The following groups can apply:

  • Organizations, such as employer-health care or non-health care, health centers, congregate facilities, faith-based organizations, and community based organizations, etc.
  • K-12 schools.
  • Local health jurisdictions.