Find testing near you

State-sponsored testing is searchable at the link below. Testing sites from other providers may be available at your county’s COVID-19 website.

Find a testing location

Free, confidential COVID-19 testing is available to every Californian. Get vaccinated to minimize the need for testing.

On this page:

Testing guidance

As the vaccination rate increases across California, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is adapting testing guidance to focus on high-risk populations and individuals who have not been vaccinated.

Testing provides insights into community prevalence and transmission, letting us monitor the introduction of new variants into the community and the evolution of the virus. 

In general,

  • Fully-vaccinated individuals do not need to undergo diagnostic screening testing in non-healthcare workplace settings.
  • Diagnostic screening testing of asymptomatic employees in acute health care and long-term care facilities should continue regardless of vaccination status, with a few exceptions:
    • Facilities may stop routine testing of asymptomatic staff who are fully vaccinated where:
      • More than 70% of residents and more than 70% staff are fully vaccinated in a long-term care facility, or
      • More than 70% of staff are fully vaccinated in an acute health care facility.
    • Facilities may consider continuing routine testing for fully-vaccinated staff with underlying immunocompromising conditions (like organ transplantation or cancer treatment), which might impact the level of protection provided by COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Diagnostic testing should be considered for all individuals with symptoms or exposure to COVID-19:
    • All individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 should be subject to diagnostic testing immediately.
    • Individuals who have not been fully vaccinated and have close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should be tested.
  • Testing before entry, admission, competition, or travel: Non-vaccinated individuals should be tested if they will be taking part in activities that put them or others at higher risk for COVID-19 exposure. Pre-testing should be considered for those attending large indoor social or mass gatherings (such as large private events, live performance events, sporting events, or theme parks), competing in high risk sports, or other events in crowded or poorly-ventilated settings.

Read CDPH’s Updated Testing Guidance to find out who needs to get tested, when, and how often.

Cost for testing

There are no out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 testing. A health plan enrollee can get a COVID-19 test when needed by any provider, in or out of their health plan network, at no cost. If you’re uninsured, the government pays for your test.

How to get tested

California has partnered with OptumServe to provide free, confidential testing statewide. Tests are available for everyone, including underserved communities and individuals who are at high risk. 

Testing with OptumServe

Tests are by appointment only. Find a location near you and make an appointment at:

Register to be tested for COVID-19

If you do not have internet access, call 1-888-634-1123.

OptumServe community testing sites serve all individuals who qualify for a test. This includes uninsured, underinsured, undocumented and homeless individuals. You do not need a driver’s license to get this test.

Questions and answers

Does my health plan have to cover my COVID-19 test? 

Yes. The federal guidance requires health plans to provide t testing at no cost to everyone (even those without COVID-19 symptoms or possible exposure to COVID-19). You do not need to be an “essential worker” to get a COVID-19 test.

To get tested you can go to any COVID-19 testing provider authorized or licensed by the state, including drive-through testing sites (such as at a pharmacy) and “pop-up” testing sites. You do not need to go to a provider that is in your health plan’s or health insurer’s provider network. You do not need to get permission from your health plan or health insurer before going to get a COVID-19 test. And you do not need to pay a co-payment for a COVID-19 test.

What if I don’t have health insurance and I need COVID-19 testing or care?

For the uninsured, the government pays for all necessary COVID-19 testing and care. Check your symptoms using the Symptom Screener or by talking to your doctor.

Is there an over-the-counter COVID-19 test I can take at home?

Yes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued several Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for  over-the-counter (OTC) fully at-home diagnostic tests for COVID-19. The tests are authorized for individuals with or without symptoms. You can buy these tests in drug stores and similar retailers.

Individuals with positive results should:

Individuals who test negative and experience COVID-like symptoms should follow up with their health care provider. It is possible to get a negative test result and still be infected with coronavirus.

For more information, see the following FDA news releases:

Is there a prescription COVID-19 test I can take at home?

Yes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for an at-home COVID-19 diagnostic self-test. The authorization is for home use with self-collected nasal swab samples in individuals aged 14 and older. This test is currently authorized for prescription use only. 

The test works by swirling the self-collected sample swab in a vial that is then placed in the test unit. In 30 minutes or less, the results can be read directly from the test unit’s light-up display. 

Individuals with positive results should:

Individuals who test negative and experience COVID-like symptoms should follow up with their health care provider. It is possible to get a negative test result and still be infected with coronavirus.

For more information, see the FDA news release.

How long does it take for coronavirus test results to come back?

Turnaround time for coronavirus test results is usually less than two days. Approximately two-thirds are returned within a day and more than 85% are available within two days.

This turnaround time includes shipping time. So for labs that process home testing kits, turnaround time may depend on when an individual mails back their kit.

If you haven’t received your test results and it’s been several days, contact your healthcare provider, testing service, or local health department.

Read more at California’s COVID-19 Testing Task Force.

What is acceptable as proof of a negative COVID-19 test result?

The following are accepted:

  • Printed document from your test provider or laboratory
  • An email or text message displayed on your phone from your test provider or laboratory

The information provided should include name of person tested, type of test performed, and date of negative test result. For PCR, the date of negative result must be within the prior 72 hours; for antigen, the date of negative result must be within the prior 24 hours.

When can I be around other people after I tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms?

If you continue to have no symptoms, you can be with others after 10 days have passed since your test.

The CDC has detailed recommendations for people who test positive but have no symptoms.

If I test positive for COVID-19 in a viral test, what should I do to protect others in my household?

You should self-isolate from others in your household who have not tested positive. Sleep and stay in a separate room from them, and use a separate bathroom, if possible. Multiple infected people in the same household can use the same room for isolation.

Members of your household should get tested right away. They should quarantine for at least 14 days: 

  • Close contacts who have never had any symptoms may discontinue quarantine after Day 10 from the date of last exposure without testing.
  • If you are released from quarantine before Day 14 after exposure, you must:
    • Monitor yourself daily for COVID-19 symptoms through Day 14 and if symptoms occur, immediately self-isolate and contact your local public health department or healthcare provider to get tested.
    • Wear a mask or facial covering around others, continue to wash your hands frequently, and stay at least 6 feet from others through Day 14.

You do not have to quarantine if:

  • You recovered from COVID-19 within the past 3 months and have no new symptoms.
  • You are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and show no symptoms.

Stay informed