Testing for COVID-19

COVID-19 Testing Information

University Health Services offers two types of testing on campus: symptomatic/clinical tests and surveillance/asymptomatic tests. All testing can be ordered online at eTang, where you will be guided to the appropriate testing site. More information can be found below. 

Differences in the two types of test can be found on our  COVID-19 Tests comparison chart.

If You Tested Positive Outside of UHS

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 outside of UHS, we’re here to help. Please call University Health Services to inform our clinical teams so they can offer you support, and ensure those around you receive appropriate guidance.

  • Students: (510) 643-8227
  • Faculty/staff: (510) 332-7192

Please see our guidance on:

Attention: Assembly Bill 685 requires the University to report the names and worksite locations of all employees and student employees who have positive COVID-19 test results to all campus unions. If you do not want your identity to be disclosed in this union notification, you must complete this form.  

What does a NEGATIVE COVID-19 test mean?  Am I safe?

First question to ask is which type of test?

  • Antigen tests, which account for almost all “rapid” (same day) test, are in general more likely to provide you with a false negative result.  Depending on the brand, sensitivity is estimated at 30-85% -- lowest in people without symptoms.

  • PCR (DNA) tests are much more reliable, however they still are not 100% sensitive, meaning in someone with symptoms typical for COVID, a single negative test result does not put you in the clear.  

Second question is: have you engaged in any risky activities within the 2 weeks before the test?

  • The incubation period for COVID-19 is generally considered to be up to 14 days (although longer has occasionally been detected).  If you test too soon, you may be falsely reassured.  In general: you should not rely on any test collected within 5 days of an exposure, and even if you wait until 7 days after an exposure, you will still miss an infection (and still be infectious) 1% of the time. 

Take home message: a single negative test will only provide so much reassurance, and timing is critical.  Do not make the mistake of assuming you are safe and can therefore drop your guard and meet some friends for dinner: we are seeing a lot of infections traced to this assumption.