On June 7, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released updated COVID-19 testing recommendations for both health care personnel (HCP) and patients at general acute care hospitals (GACHs). The revised All Facilities Letter (AFL) 20-88.1 reflects updated recommendations in light of HCP and patients now, in many cases, being fully vaccinated.
CDPH now recommends that hospitals may discontinue weekly diagnostic screening testing of asymptomatic HCP who are fully vaccinated if at least 70% of all HCP who work at the facility are fully vaccinated. CDPH has stated this threshold is based on modeling of workplace outbreaks. Previously, CDPH recommended weekly testing regardless of vaccination status. This is only a recommendation, and hospitals may decide to discontinue weekly diagnostic screening testing under different terms — for example, if an individual is fully vaccinated, regardless of the percentage of HCP who are fully vaccinated at the facility.
CDPH has also updated its recommendation for patient testing, now advising that hospitals may consider modifying testing protocols for fully vaccinated patients when vaccination status is known prior to, or upon, admission or procedure. Previously, CDPH recommended testing all patients prior to admission.
Finally, there is one requirement of hospitals in the AFL: that hospitals need to revise the GACH COVID-19 Mitigation Testing Plan they submitted in December 2020 to their local CDPH District Office. If a hospital has made any changes in providing COVID-19 testing to patients and HCP since then, it needs to update the plan to reflect current practice and have it available for CDPH upon request.