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The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is ending COVID-19 policies that required weekly COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated individuals in high-risk workplaces and schools who applied for and were granted an exemption from vaccination requirements.

Except as specifically noted to comply with federal requirements, 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 took effect Saturday, September 17, 2022.

Federal orders outlining testing requirements for skilled nursing facilities remain in effect and may require more stringent testing of staff.

Health care workers must, however, continue to comply with all required primary series and vaccine booster doses. The new CDPH order also updates timing of required booster doses consistent with current CDC recommendations. Additionally, facilities must continue to track workers’ vaccination or exemption status to ensure they are complying with these requirements.

According to CDPH, facilities should maintain testing capacity at their worksites and have the ability to ramp up testing in the event of outbreaks or if it is required again at a future date.

And unvaccinated state employees who work in “non-high-risk settings” also no longer need to test weekly, according to a memo from the California Department of Human Resources.

Public health leaders continue to 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 for those who were granted an exemption from the vaccination requirements, 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 are masking and improving indoor ventilation.