Testing for COVID-19

student getting tested for Covid-19 at the Tang Center

The Tang Center offers limited COVID-19 testing in collaboration with IGI.

Please be aware that despite much effort and messaging to the contrary, testing capacity locally and nationally remains limited.  Prevention of infection and quarantine once exposed continue to be our main tools against this virus absent a vaccine.  A lot of work is happening to ramp up capacity here on campus for more widespread surveillance/screening, but in the meantime, limited testing is available at University Health Services, see below.  *Unless you are enrolled in the Safe Campus Study you must always CALL FIRST.

A couple of important points regarding PCR testing for COVID-19, regardless of where it is done: Testing is a useful tool in detecting cases, containing outbreaks, and informing the campus and community of current prevalence however it has several very important limitations:

  • There is no utility to re-testing (“test of cure”) if you already tested positive within the past month: it won’t tell you when you can leave isolation (this is determined by the public health department based on timeline and symptoms, and a negative would not change anything since viral shedding can be intermittent and decreases over time), and another positive result does not necessarily mean you are still infectious (RNA from “dead” virus can be detected for weeks in some people).
  • While we strive to test those who are contacts of confirmed cases, it is useless to test too soon (< 4 days after exposure) AND a negative test does not release you from the 14 day quarantine required by public health since you can become infectious later.

Note: If you have been tested outside of UHS and tested positive, please call our University Health Services CONFIDENTIAL line at (510) 643-8227 to inform our clinical teams, to help us support you and guide our campus. 

Please see our guidance on How to be safe while protesting during a pandemic.

Updated July 8, 2020

Testing at the Tang Center


Who is eligible for testing?

PCR (swab) COVID-19 testing at our Durant site is available for UCB students, faculty, or staff who fall into one of the following categories.  Results are generally available in 2-3 days.

  1. close contact with a confirmed case (less than 15 minutes, less than 6 feet apart, and only if between 3-10 days since exposure)
  2. program requirements, per prior agreement
  3. symptoms concerning for COVID-19, which may include NEW:
  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

    See relevant section below to find out how to access testing.  Advance clinical consultation and order is required.

    Tang Center Testing Hours & Location

    Testing is performed Monday - Friday from 10am-4pm on the Durant Avenue side of the Tang Center either as a walk-up or drive-through. All testing and swabbing must be ordered in advance. Test results are typically known in 2-3 business, although on occasion it may take longer.

    *Please see section on Safe Campus study re: the Parking Lot testing site*

    For Students with Symptoms

    UC Berkeley Students interested in assessment and possible testing for COVID-19 should:

    • If mild symptoms: schedule a telephone appointment with a UHS clinician online at eTang.berkeley.edu(link is external) (M-F) OR

    • If significantly ill, requiring assessment within our COVID tent: stop by the Durant side of Tang M-F 10-4pm or go directly to the nearest Emergency Room

    * Students are always encouraged to call the UHS Advice Line 24/7 at (510) 643-7197 if you are ill and are unsure if you need to be seen.*

    Students do NOT need to be enrolled in SHIP to get tested or be assessed or tested at UHS.

    For Staff & Faculty with Symptoms

    UC Berkeley Employees interested in testing at UHS should:

    • If mild symptoms: call the UCB Occupational Health COVID hotline (510) 332-7192 for assessment and instructions (Monday - Friday from 10am-4pm; messages can be left any time).

    • If ill: please call your own health care provider first for advice or go directly to the nearest Emergency Room.  You are welcome to call Occupational Health as above for testing if advised by your provider.

    Occupational Health does not have capacity to care for staff who are seriously ill or who have non-work related conditions: please do not call for non-COVID conditions unless work-related.

    Testing Outside the Tang Center


    If You've Tested Positive Outside of UHS

    We are asking that if students, faculty, staff and other campus affiliates get a lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 test from an outside provider/lab to voluntarily call our University Health Services CONFIDENTIAL line at (510) 643-8227 to inform our clinical teams.

    We want to offer our support and services to help those through their care and recovery. It will also help us be aware of the number of positive cases so we can plan our services and resources to support the campus community.

    Your private information will not be shared beyond that required for Public Health. Please have the following information ready when you call:

    • Are you a student, faculty, staff member or campus affiliate
    • Spell your first and last name
    • Date of Birth if you are a student, or Employee ID for faculty / staff
    • City you tested positive in
    • Date of confirmed positive test
    • Contact number and email address

    Testing in California

    COVID-19 Testing Sites in California

    Additional resources for free COVID testing:

    City of Berkeley- free to anyone living or working in Berkeley, includes asymptomatic testing
    Community members can call the test screening line by dialing 510-981-5380 to speak with a Berkeley Public Health nurse or schedule appt online: https://lhi.care/covidtesting.
    Tests will be scheduled weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the city/s West Berkeley facility- 1730 Oregon St.

    City of Oakland-free to anyone living in Alameda County

    SF CityAny SF resident with at least 1 symptom, a known exposure to lab-confirmed COVID19 or a frontline worker


    San Mateo County- Project Baseline- Free testing to anyone without restriction

    Santa Clara County- Free for symptomatic, those with known exposure to lab-confirmed COVID19, frontline workers

    UC Berkeley School of Public Health - Safe Campus Initiative

    The School of Public Health is running a set of three COVID-19 research studies for UC Berkeley students, essential workers, and other faculty/staff called the Berkeley Safe Campus Initiative. All studies are now closed for new enrollment. 

    Please note that existing study participants who have completed baseline testing can self-schedule COVID tests when indicated (mild symptoms or close contact) through eTang until August 18th.

    For more information, please go to the study's website.

    IGI Saliva Testing (FAST) Study (for those without symptoms)

    For people without symptoms: The Innovative Genomics Institute is piloting a new, saliva-based test for COVID-19 on campus to help establish a testing model for our campus when it reopens.

    If you are a UC Berkeley staff, faculty, or student who is currently approved to be on campus during the pandemic, you are invited to join. Find out more and sign up for an appointment.