See our Omicron surge page for up-to-date guidance on testing, vaccination, masking, isolation, and quarantine.

Emergency Regional Stay Home Order. Bay Area ICUs are near capacity. Stay home except for essential tasks. Keep errands short. Don't gather with anyone outside your household. Cancel plans for non-essential travel. Learn more.

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Get tested for COVID-19

If you're concerned you've been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, get tested. All City-coordinated testing sites are available to all with no out-of-pocket costs. You may be required to provide insurance information if you are insured.

When to get tested

Getting tested is essential in helping slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities by identifying those who have the virus so they can get treated and isolate from others to lower the spread. 

If you have COVID-19 Symptoms

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported - ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. Some of the symptoms of COVID-19 can include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting

This list does not include all possible symptoms. You can learn about more possible symptoms on the CDC COVID-19 Symptom page. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, get tested. You can also use the CDC's Symptom Checker tool to help you make decisions on when to seek testing and medical care.

After exposure to COVID-19

People who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 should be tested to check for infection and my need to also follow Quarantine Protocol depending on their vaccine status. Visit our Quarantine Information page to learn more information including instructions on when to test after exposure.  

How to get tested

City-coordinated Testing Sites (PCR): Free and open to all

West Berkeley Service Center (Optum LHI) 

  • 1900 6th St.
  • Registration, Patient ID, and appointment required online or call 888-634-1123
  • Walk-up availability is contingent on flow & supply
  • Please be ready to show Patient ID when checking in- for appointments and walk-ups
  • Monday-Friday:
    • 8am-12pm
    • 1pm-5pm
    • 6pm-8pm 

Optum Mobile Testing Pop-ups: 7am to 7 pm on designated days

  • Tuesdays: at Harold Way in downtown Berkeley, between Kittredge & Allston 
  • Wednesdays: in the parking lot at the corner of San Pablo and Heinz 
  • Registration, Patient ID and Appointment required online or call 888-634-1123  
  • Walk-up availability is contingent on flow & supply
  • Please be ready to show Patient ID when checking in- for appointments and walk-ups 

Curative Test Kiosk

  • Self-collected PCR and Rapid PCR shallow nasal swab testing is available by appointment 
  • 1701 San Pablo, Berkeley Adult School parking lot  
  • Every day from 9am - 4pm.
  • Appointments preferred with limited walk-ups accepted as availability allows.
  • Make an appointment for Standard PCR: Standard PCR appointment link
  • Make an appointment for Rapid PCR (Ages 5+): Rapid PCR appointment link

Curative Mobile Testing Pop-up

  • San Pablo Park, corner of Park and Ward St.
  • Sundays and Mondays from 9am to 4pm
  • Appointments are preferred with limited walk-up registration available
  • Appointments can be made via online or call 888-702-9042

Other PCR testing options

COVID-19 At-Home Test Kits (antigen) 

Many local pharmacies carry at-home kits. If you are planning to use a home test kit, it should be a FDA Emergency Use Authorized (EUA) antigen test. You can see all FDA EUA at-home test kits on the FDA's EUA Antigen Test page. These tests allow you to test yourself and get quick results. They are available over the counter, without a prescription.

To see guidance on how to perform an at-home test, how to interpret results and to learn more about these tests, visit the CDC's Self-Testing page. If you have receive a positive test result from an at-home test kit, see the section below on positive tests.

COVID-19 At-Home Test Kits may be available at:

  • Your local pharmacy or retail store
  • Through this Federal website, every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days via USPS. Through this website, you will be linked to a USPS website to place your order. Those without internet access can call 1-800-232-0233 to place an order by phone.

After a positive test, lab or home

If you live in Berkeley and test positive, Berkeley Public Health will contact you with information on self-isolating and to begin the process of investigation and contact tracing. If you live outside of Berkeley, your local public health jurisdiction will provide this information - regardless of where you completed your test.

If you take a FDA Emergency Use Authorized (EUA) antigen test and test positive, at this time, there is no need to report your result to the City of Berkeley.

Anyone that tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of the test type, should immediately begin to isolate.

COVID-19 advice line for uninsured

If you do not have insurance or have Medi-Cal but no regular doctor, the State's Medi-Nurse line can assist you with your COVID-19 symptom questions and connect you with local resources. The Medi-Nurse advice line can help advise if your symptoms might be COVID-19 related and what the best next steps are including advising if you should get tested for COVID-19 and/or see a health care provider for treatment. The Medi-Nurse line is available 24/7, 7 days a week at (877) 409-9052​​.

Those ​that have insurance should seek advice from their medical provider for questions regarding COVID-19 symptom questions.

Testing for Travel

If you're looking for testing for travel purposes, state, local, and territorial governments may have travel restrictions in place, including testing requirements.

Different destinations and airlines have testing requirements that can vary on required timing, approved test type, and preferred test locations. Check with your airline and destination for their specific requirements. Depending on the type of test selected, City-coordinated testing may not have guaranteed result turnaround times.


Last updated January 24, 2022

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