SACRAMENTO – To better align state COVID-19 guidance with the most current federal recommendations, the California Department of Public Health is ending COVID-19 policies that required weekly COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated individuals in high-risk workplaces and schools. Health care facilities, other congregate settings and schools will no longer be required to administer weekly COVID-19 testing of unvaccinated and under vaccinated workers. The changes take effect Saturday, Sept. 17.
The state’s vaccination requirements for employees in these work settings remain in effect. In addition, changes to policies regarding state workers will be announced separately by CalHR.
“We’ve entered a phase of the pandemic where the majority of people in these workplace settings are vaccinated, and our youngest Californians are now eligible for vaccination too, which protects all of our communities against severe illness, hospitalization and death,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón. “While unvaccinated individuals remain at greatest risk of serious health consequences from COVID-19 infection, weekly testing of unvaccinated groups is no longer slowing the spread as it did earlier in the pandemic due to the more infectious Omicron variants.”
State public health leaders urge all individuals to stay up-to-date on the COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves from severe illness and slow the spread of the virus. As Omicron variants keep emerging, the updated booster is an important tool against severe illnesses, hospitalization, long COVID and death. California expects to receive more than 1 million doses of the updated booster and will have ample supply to meet demand.
While weekly testing requirements are ending, employers and schools are encouraged to continue providing testing resources to staff and students to slow the spread of COVID-19 in all communities. Vaccination and testing are two key measures that help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, as is masking and improving indoor ventilation.
The state has distributed another round of 10 million at-home tests to K-12 schools and continues to support additional testing resources for schools as well as school and community testing sites, some of which offer COVID-19 treatments.
The state public health officer orders being amended to reflect testing changes include:
7/26/21 Health Care Worker Protections in High-Risk Settings
8/11/21 Vaccine Verification for Workers in Schools
2/22/22 State and Local Correctional Facilities and Detention Centers Health Care Worker Vaccination Requirement
2/2/22 Health Care Worker Vaccine Requirement
2/22/22 Adult Care Facilities and Direct Care Worker Vaccine Requirement