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State of California—Health and Human Services Agency
California Department of Public Health

September 28, 2022

California Healthcare Providers

Healthcare Provider Health Advisory: Public Health Officer Order Updates Effective September 17th, 2022, regarding testing requirements for workers in both congregate and high-risk settings

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Note: This guidance is no longer in effect and is for historical purposes only. ​​​​

With the high rates of vaccinated/boosted staff in health care, school, and other covered settings and data on increased transmissibility, lower severity, and immune escape of the Omicron variant, requiring testing of just unvaccinated persons either working or visiting these settings is not effectively preventing the spread and impact of COVID-19 as earlier in the pandemic.

CDPH has updated several state public health officer orders to align with the most current CDC recommendations that screening testing is no longer recommended in general community settings. While screening testing may still be considered for all persons in high-risk settings, it should include all persons regardless of vaccination status. These changes took effect on Saturday, September 17, 2022.

Summary of Setting Specific Updates:

Removes Requirements in Certain Congregate Settings, Dental Offices and Schools Where Employees Must Submit to Weekly Testing if they are Unvaccinated : While vaccination is still a crucial tool to protect from severe illness and slow the spread of the virus, there will no longer be a requirement that unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated persons in schools and other specified settings (dental offices, homeless shelters, Adult Day Programs Licensed by the California Department of Social Services non-medical correctional) undergo weekly diagnostic screening testing.

Removes requirements to verify visitors are full vaccinated, or to verify documentation of a negative SARS-CoV-2 test for unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated visitors in both acute and long-term healthcare settings (General Acute Care Hospitals, Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs), and Adult and Senior Care Residential Facilities licensed by the California Department of Social Services).

Rescinded Orders:

Removes Testing Requirements for Employees in High-Risk Settings (including Health Care and Adult Care Facilities): Testing requirements, which apply only to unvaccinated or unboosted workers who qualify for an exemption, will be rescinded for employees in health care, correctional medical facilities, and adult residential and home health settings, except as needed to comply with federal requirements (skilled nursing facilities). The current vaccination and booster requirement for workers in these settings will not change. Facilities may still consider offering testing for employees in alignment with CDC’s guidance and should be prepared to ramp up testing at worksites in the event of a future outbreak or future requirement. Facilities must also continue to track workers' vaccination or exemption status.

Amended Orders:

CDC’s Recent Updates on Mask and Testing Guidance for Health Care Settings:

CDPH is aware of and is reviewing CDC’s recent updates regarding its mask guidance in health care settings and for health care personnel, as well as other changes in recommendations for testing. Currently there are no changes to California’s requirements for masks in healthcare settings including Long Term Care Settings and Adult & Senior Care Facilities.