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

July 28, 2020

Laboratory Colleagues

Letter to Laboratories: Title 17 Changes

Dear Laboratory Colleagues,

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is committed to understanding and addressing health disparities and advancing the health and well-being of California's diverse people and communities. As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, it is clear that there are significant health disparities in disease incidence and disease severity. There are also disparities for many other reportable conditions.

Recently, CDPH in consultation with the California Conference of Local Health Officers updated Title 17 section 2505 to improve our ability to accurately assess disparities in reportable conditions related to race and ethnicity. We've also shortened the laboratory reporting timeframe for SARS-CoV-2. The changes go into effect immediately and are described below.

Changes to SARS-CoV-2 Reporting Timeframe

  • SARS-CoV-2 results are no longer required to be reported by telephone within one hour.
  • SARS-CoV-2 results must be reported to public health within eight (8) hours (previously was 24 hours).

Changes to Required Data Elements

  • All laboratory test requisitions and reports must now contain patient race and ethnicity. There are designated segments in the HL7 message to send these data.

The data reported by laboratories to public health are a critical component in our pandemic response and disease control efforts. We appreciate your efforts to send these new data elements so that we may address health disparities. We sincerely appreciate the extraordinary work our laboratory partners have undertaken these last several months. Questions about these new reporting requirements can be sent to

Thank you,

Original signed by Sonia Y. Angell, MD, MPH


Sonia Y. Angell, MD, MPH
State Public Health Officer & Director

CDPH Director’s Office, MS 0500  ●  P.O. Box 997377  ●  Sacramento, CA 95899-7377
(916) 558-1700  ●  (916) 558-1762 FAX
Internet Address:

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