COVID-19 Testing in Sonoma County

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General Testing Information

There are two kinds of tests for COVID-19: viral tests and antibody tests.

  • A viral test tells you if you have a current infection. This test is now widely available.
  • An antibody test tells you if you had a previous infection. This test is not yet available in Sonoma County.

Broad COVID-19 Viral Testing Now Available

Get tested and help Sonoma County open safely. Viral tests are quick, easy, and free.

Community-wide testing is a critical step toward re-opening the County and allows us to identify and increase our understanding of COVID-19 community transmission. This includes collecting a broad sample of results from people with or without symptoms. We know that upwards of 40% of people who test positive experience no symptoms (asymptomatic), but are still spreading the disease.

Those who are tested will be assessed for the need to quarantine. Only those individuals with a temperature and flu-like symptoms will be required to quarantine while they await test results. Most will be free to continue their regular shelter in place while they await their test results.

Testing Sites Open To Locations Details
OptumServe, CA Dept Public Health General Public Petaluma,
Santa Rosa
https://lhi.care/covidtesting
Walk-in by appointment only
DHS Public Health Lab Priority groups Santa Rosa Drive through by appointment
Pop-up DHS sponsored Testing Sites General Public Varies Saturday, May 23
Coverdale

  • Citrus Fair Parking Lot
  • Walk-up
  • 4-8pm. Appointments recommended – call 565-4667 (FULL)

Saturday, May 30
Healdsburg – more information coming soon.

Community testing sites provided by Health Care Providers General Public Sonoma Valley Hospital Week of May 18-22 from 2:30-4:30
Your Primary Care/Health Care Provider Determined by discussing with your regular health care provider Various

For Those Who Can’t Be at Home, A Free, Safe Place to Quarantine or Isolate Offered by the County of Sonoma

The County of Sonoma is offering temporary residence at the Sonoma State University Dormitories for people who need to self-isolate or quarantine, and do not have a way to do that safely at home. 

People who test positive for COVID-19 are instructed to self-isolate to protect others from catching the virus. People who are awaiting test results and who have flu-like symptoms are also required to quarantine. People without these symptoms who get tested are not required to quarantine while they await test results.

Definition: Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.

  • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

These accommodations are free and available to ANYONE who cannot safely isolate at home. Multiple members of a family group that need to isolate are allowed, and can be together.

  • Individuals are welcome regardless of immigration status
  • Information collected is only for health purposes
  • Individuals who meet certain requirements of being vulnerable to COVID-19, even without a known exposure, qualify to use the dorms.

Location: Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park.

Safe, secure (monitored by security) accommodations include:

  • Each guest will have a private dorm room and bathroom, and access to open space. 
  • All meals, three times a day, including snacks, are provided free of charge. Meals are provided by a selection of vendors in order to ensure a wide variety of choices.
  • A regular assessment of vital signs by a clinician.* 
  • Free Wi-Fi is available.
  • Staff are bilingual in Spanish 

Ask your health care provider to call 707-309-1696 for a referral form. Provider to fax referral forms to 707-665-7816 and include the location where testing was done.

*Medical support provided free by Petaluma Health Center

  • Nurses and staff available 24/7
  • Doctor on call 24/7
  • Ambulance available for pick up and drop off 24/7

Case Investigation and Contact Tracing

The Department of Health Services (DHS) has expanded its system for monitoring cases and contacts by training more health investigators. This process helps break the chain of infection by monitoring people who have been exposed or infected as early as possible,  getting them to care, and helping them to isolate from others. Here are the steps in contact tracing:

Step 1: Determine Contacts – DHS determines all the possible contacts of the person who tests positive, and attempts to get contact information for those people. The name and personal information of the person who tested positive for COVID-19 are never shared during the contact tracing process; revealing the name of the person is a violation of privacy laws.

Step 2:  Make Contact – DHS attempts to locate and contact all individuals with direct exposure, which is defined as prolonged contact of 15 minutes or more within 6 feet distance of each other, usually indoors. Based on an assessment of the contact, those contacts may be asked to quarantine for 14 days. Quarantine requires one to maintain physical distance from other people, and check symptoms daily. If a contact receives a viral test and it is positive, they will be instructed to self-isolate. For someone that lives with others, this means staying in a specific “sick room” or area that is away from other people or animals, including pets. Use of a separate bathroom, if available, is best. Release from isolation is determined by Disease Control staff, following CDC guidance. In order to be released from isolation, at least 3 days (72 hours) must have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medication and improvement of respiratory symptoms and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared). 

Step 3: Assess Contacts:

  • Close contacts are asked to voluntarily comply with a daily assessment of their symptoms via phone call from a public health nurse for the 14 days of their quarantine.   
  • Asymptomatic contacts are instructed to get tested approximately 7 days after the exposure. 
  • All contacts with symptoms are tested as soon as possible 

All quarantined individuals can be provided a letter to share with their employer (if needed).

Testing Location Details

  1. Department of Health Services pop-up testing sites: These sites will be rotating throughout the county, in order to ensure access to testing across the entire geography of the county, and especially to populations who are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus, such as Latinx.
  2. Department of Health Services drive-thru testing at the Sonoma County Public Health Laboratory
    Open for individuals who are in a high-risk group, including:

    • healthcare workers, defined, as any individual employed at a health care facility whose job duties put them in contact with patients regularly and includes:
      • Medical staff, such as nurses, nursing assistants and doctors/dentists and dental hygienists
      • Social workers/counselors working in healthcare facilities
      • Front desk/intake staff
      • Dieticians
      • Housekeeping/janitorial staff
      • Security working in healthcare facilities
    • first responders
    • symptomatic people over age 65
    • symptomatic people with underlying health conditions
    • essential workers such as:
      • grocery store workers,
      • In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) caregivers,
      • construction workers
      • utility workers
      • childcare providers,
      • or anyone who has continued to work under the Shelter in Place health order in an essential function.

    An appointment can be made at (707) 565-4667. Remember to bring some form of identification (e.g., mail with your name and address), or your name clearly written on a piece of paper. This helps the intake staff process your information, especially when wearing face covering.

  3. OptumServe (under contract with the State) public testing, 2 sites –
    OptumServe locations:  Santa Rosa and Petaluma. You must first schedule an appointment through their online system at https://lhi.care/covidtesting.  Those without internet access or who need to make an appointment in a language other than English, call 1-888-634-1123.  Additional information about State testing can be found here: Testing

Testing Results

  • If you test positive for COVID-19 by a viral test, know what protective steps to take if you are sick or caring for someone.
  • If you test negative for COVID-19 by a viral test, you probably were not infected at the time your sample was collected. However, that does not mean you will not get sick. The test result only means that you did not have COVID-19 at the time of testing.

If you test positive or negative for COVID-19, no matter the type of test, you still should take preventive measures to  protect yourself and others.

Antibody Testing

An antibody test looks for antibodies, which show if you’ve had a previous viral infection. The antibody test isn’t checking for the virus itself. Instead, it looks to see whether your immune system — your body’s defense against illness — has responded to the infection. Depending on when someone was infected and the timing of the test, the test may not find antibodies in someone with a current COVID-19 infection. The test is a blood test performed through a finger prick.

An antibody test may not be able to show if you have a current infection, because it can take 1-3 weeks after infection to make antibodies. Therefore, antibody tests should not be used to diagnose someone to determine if they are currently sick with COVID-19. To see if you have a current infection, you need a viral test, which checks respiratory samples, such as a swab from inside your nose.

While antibodies consist of proteins that typically help fight off infections, we do not know yet if having antibodies to the coronavirus can protect someone from getting infected with the virus again, or how long that protection might last.