COVID-19 Testing for the UCSF Community

Updated January 9, 2023

UCSF COVID-19 Testing Policy

UCSF offers free COVID-19 testing to employees and learners. Please note that Color tests are for UCSF employees and learners only. 

  • Members of the UCSF community can drop in and show their UCSF identification badge to get a Color test kit. Check here for more information about pick-up and/or drop-off locations and hours.
  • Friends and family who are UCSF Health patients can take the symptom screener in MyChart and access a test through MyChart or through the UCSF COVID Hotline: (415) 514-7328.
  • For household members of employees, the employee needs to call the UCSF Health COVID Hotline: (415) 514-7328.
  • If any household members are UCSF patients and have a MyChart account, they will be given clearance that they can schedule through the symptoms screen in MyChart. 
  • If they are not UCSF patients or do not have an active MyChart account, they will be sent to the COVID Response nurse team. The team will discuss with the employee, create the accounts of minors with the parents, or if roommates, they will call the adult back and schedule.
  • If you have any questions about getting a Color test kit, completing the self-swab, or getting your test results, please send an email to [email protected].
  • If you’re asymptomatic, you may also contact your health care provider to request a test. Many Bay Area cities and counties also offer free community testing, including:
  • Alameda County
  • City of Berkeley
  • Contra Costa County
  • Napa County
  • San Francisco
  • San Mateo County
  • Santa Clara County
  • Solano County
  • Sonoma County

For the latest information on COVID-19 tests and positive cases at UCSF, please see the UCSF COVID-19 Dashboard.

New Policies Effective in September 2022

CDPH no longer requires surveillance testing mandate for non-boosted workers/learners onsite

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has recently eliminated the requirement for weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing of persons with approved COVID vaccine exceptions who work in healthcare settings and other high-risk environments. 

  • Individuals NOT up-to-date with vaccination are no longer required to complete weekly COVID testing solely for the purpose of meeting vaccine exception requirements; however, they will have to complete an attestation via the Digital Screener every time they screen before entry.

Testing for on-site employees/learners and out-of-state travelers

  • International Travelers: Post-travel testing is no longer required. The UCSF Digital Screener will provide instructions on when and how to get tested when reporting to work. All individuals should check travel guidance for testing and quarantine policies after international and domestic travel.

Take the Digital Screener

Taking the Digital Screener will allow UCSF to assist you most efficiently, even when you know you will fail, due to symptoms, exposures, or travel.

  • All employees and students are required to take the Digital Screener before coming to any UCSF campus (including Fresno and Oakland).
  • If you are working off-campus, you are strongly recommended to take the Digital Screener if you have symptoms, exposure, or travel risk. For individuals who might be eligible to continue to work due to symptoms or COVID-19 infection, you will receive instructions for testing and obtaining an OHS clearance email for return to on-site work through the Digital Screener.

Employees with questions should contact:

What to Do for Symptoms, Exposure, and Travel

The Digital Screener is your guide to Return-to-On-site Work for symptoms, exposure and travel. You can self-assess and clear yourself back to work via the Digital Screener. If you fall into the three categories: COVID Negative with Symptoms, High-Risk Exposure, and if you are a COVID-positive person qualified for reduced isolation, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO CALL THE COVID HOTLINE FOR CLEARANCE.

1. COVID Negative with Symptoms can now self-clear and return to on-site work via the Digital Screener by attesting to the following criteria listed below:

  • Symptoms are completely gone or improving enough to resume work activities with a negative COVID test
  • Acceptable tests for symptoms evaluation are: A single Color or PCR test or two negative home-based antigen tests performed at least 24 hours apart. Please email pictures of negative test kits with name and date of birth to [email protected].
  • More information is included in the Digital Screener.
  • Self-clear option: YES. Please complete attestation for clearance email.
  • Masking: Wearing an N95 mask is recommended.

2. High-Risk Exposures: To avoid quarantine, individuals must have an up-to-date vaccination status and not have immunocompromised conditions. The Digital Screener will guide the individual on testing protocols, depending on the nature of the exposure, and issue a clearance email letter. 

  • All persons with high-risk exposures require a negative COVID-19 test before their first day back to on-site work or learning, plus one or two additional tests if less than 10 days since exposure.
  • Color or PCR tests are required. If not feasible to perform Color or PCR prior to the first day onsite, a negative home-based antigen test coupled with a Color test submitted after arriving onsite is acceptable. Pictures of negative test kits with name and date of birth must be emailed to [email protected]
  • Employees and learners with high-risk exposures must attest to the following criteria listed below:
    • Must be asymptomatic
    • Completed required COVID-19 testing protocol
    • Masking: UCSF-approved mask is required; N95 is strongly recommended
    • Self-clear option: YES 

3. COVID-9-positive persons: For reduced isolation period, individuals must have up-to-date vaccination status, and must not have immunocompromised conditions

  • Symptoms are gone or improving (Fever-free for more than 24 hours without fever-reducing medications; diarrhea-free for more than 48 hours if not related to pre-existing conditions; feeling ready to return to on-site work; if working in a high-risk unit, no sneezing or coughing

Please do not use the vending machines to access Color tests if you have symptoms. The Laurel Heights drive-through testing site and the Respiratory Screening Clinics at Parnassus Heights and Mount Zion are the only acceptable locations to access Color tests when you have symptoms.

Self-Report a Positive COVID-19 Test

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, UCSF has enacted an organization-wide policy requiring all personnel working or learning at UCSF – including those at UCSF Fresno, Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland and those working remotely – who test or have tested positive for COVID-19 at a facility other than UCSF OHS (e.g., UCSF Primary Care, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, a county testing center, etc.) to self-report the positive COVID-19 test result to the appropriate UCSF department:

  • Employees and volunteers working at UCSF are required to self-report the positive test result to UCSF Occupational Health Services (OHS) by completing the Digital Screener, or calling the COVID-19 hotline at (415) 514-7328 or emailing [email protected]. This policy applies whether working on property owned or leased by UCSF or working remotely (e.g., telecommuting), paid or unpaid.
  • UCSF students are required to report the positive test result to UCSF Student Health and Counseling Services by calling (415) 476-8736 or sending a secure message to the student health nurse.
  • Non-UCSF people who provide services for UCSF on a contract basis (e.g., on-site vendors) are strongly encouraged, but not required, to disclose the results of a positive COVID-19 test to OHS by emailing [email protected].
  • Non-UCSF occupants of UCSF housing, such as partners and employees, are also strongly encouraged, but not required, to report a positive test result to UCSF Occupational Health Services (OHS) by emailing [email protected].

Self-reporting a positive COVID-19 diagnosis will allow UCSF to provide individualized counseling on how best to manage the condition and prevent exposure to others, and to describe criteria and procedures for returning to campus when appropriate. For past cases, self-reporting will allow UCSF to help respond to reinfections, should they occur in the future, and for contact tracing.

UCSF honors the privacy of our community and confidentiality obligations. Personal medical information will be safeguarded and used only for limited, health-related purposes, including to perform contact tracing or other activities to address employee, student and patient safety as directed by UCSF OHS and Infection Prevention Services. This information will be maintained only in the appropriate health records, separate from employee personnel files or student records. Self-reporting to supervisors or advisors is not required.

This self-reporting policy will remain in effect until further notice. Questions about this policy can be addressed to OHS at [email protected].

Request for Anonymity for AB 685 Notification Purposes

AB 685 requires the University of California to notify exclusive union representatives of the names of employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 and who worked onsite during the infectious period. Under 8 CCR 14300.29(b)(7), employees may request that their names not be included in such notifications so long as such a request is voluntary and independent.