Public Health

The mission of the Butte County Public Health Department (BCPHD) is to protect the public through promoting individual, community, and environmental health. 

COVID-19 Testing in Butte County

(CLICK) To get FREE at-home COVID-19 Tests

Did you know that COVID-19 can feel like a common cold or seasonal allergies? If you're experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms (which include runny nose, cough, sore throat, fever, body aches and more) please get tested for COVID-19. By getting tested you'll do your part to reduce COVID-19 spread in your community.

COVID testing is free to everyone who needs it. Book a free test appointment, find a walk-in test clinic, or buy a self-test kit from our local drugstore. Testing is free at state testing sites.

Learn more about types of COVID tests (PDF)

COVID-19 testing is not performed at Butte County Public Health clinics.

Who should be tested for COVID-19? 

You should immediately get tested for COVID-19 if you are feeling any symptoms – regardless of your vaccination status. COVID-19 symptoms can feel like a common cold (including just “the sniffles”), seasonal allergies, or flu.

  • If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and are not fully vaccinated, get tested right away. If you test negative, retest 5-7 days after your exposure date. Those who are unvaccinated should also test before and 3-5 days after any high-risk events.
  • If you were fully vaccinated when exposed, you should get tested 3-5 days after close contact with someone who has recently tested positive.
  • If you have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 3 months and have had no new symptoms since your recent exposure, you do not need to get tested.
  • Traveling? Read CDC’s travel fact sheet.

NEW! COVID-19 Home Test Self-Reporting

Reporting test results will provide more data about transmission rates in Butte County to help identify potential surges in cases for our community. Self-reporting is voluntary.





Where can I get tested?

Testing is available throughout Butte County and at most pharmacies. View COVID-19 Testing Sites in Butte and Glenn County: English Spanish | Hmong

The State of California and the COVID-19 Testing Task Force have joined together with OptumServe in a partnership to expand Rapid and PCR viral testing services in Butte County. View more information about OptumServe Testing

***OptumServe Sites will be closed November 11 in observance of Veterans Day***

OptumServe (Chico State): OPEN Monday-Friday! Located at Sutter Hall, 521 Legion Ave. Chico 

This location is open to the public. Appointments are scheduled Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2-5 p.m., excluding all federal holidays. Short-term free parking is available in the Bryce South Lot (gravel lot off of Warner). Metered parking is available on Legion Ave. Schedule an appointment at:

  • Online at:
  • By phone: 1-888-634-1123
  • Appointments are available for rapid antigen testing only. PCR testing is available on a walk-in basis only.

When will I receive my test results?

Return of test results varies greatly by the company/provider performing the COVID-19 test and the laboratory used to analyze and confirm the results. On average, you can expect your test results within 2-3 business days for PCR tests, however, some medical providers are able to obtain results more quickly. Results may be delivered by phone, email, or text message – depending on the company/provider performing the test. Be sure to confirm your desired communication preferences when scheduling your test so the company/medical provider can reach you as soon as your test results are available.   

If you were tested because you were in contact with someone who has COVID-19 you should stay home, away from others, and monitor your health while waiting for your test result, even if you do not show symptoms. Click here to read the CDC’s 3 Key Steps to Take While Waiting for Your COVID-19 Test Result

What to do if you receive a positive COVID-19 test result?

CDPH updated its guidance on April 6 to align with the recommended isolation and quarantine timeframes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Isolation for COVID-19 Positive Individuals (Regardless of Vaccination Status)

All individuals with COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status:

  • Stay home for at least five days.
  • Isolation can end after day five IF SYMPTOMS ARE NOT PRESENT or resolving and if an antigen test (rapid home test) collected on day five or later is negative.
  • If fever is present, isolation should be continued until fever resolves.
  • If symptoms, other than fever, are not resolving continue to isolate until symptoms are resolving or until after day 10.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask when around others, especially indoors, for 10 days from the date of positive test.
While in isolation, take the following precautions:
If I test positive for COVID-19, will I be contacted by Public Health?

You may or may not be contacted by Public Health based on the current case load.  When necessary, priority is given to health care workers and first responders, persons living in congregate living facilities, and agencies or businesses who perform critical infrastructure services in the community. 

Types of COVID-19 Testing

 Molecular Test Serological test  Antigen Testing
 About First type of test on the market and used by WHO and CDC. It is also known as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing. This antibody test is still in development. Unlike the molecular test, the serological test can identify those that were infected and have recovered. The antigen test is also known as the rapid test. 
 How it's administered Administered using a 6-inch nasal swab (although a saliva-based test may be on the market soon). Administered using a blood sample (usually a finger prick). Administered using a nasal or throat swab.
 Results Results take a few hours to days but a rapid (less than an hour) test is in development. For most methods, results take about 10-15 minutes. Results take about one hour or less.
 How it works Detects viral genetic material, usually from your nasal passages. Detects antibodies, which are proteins made by your body after you've been infected by COVID-19, in your blood. Detects active COVID-19 infection.
 How effective it is This test is typically highly accurate and usually does not need to be repeated. Most of these tests have not yet been reviewed by the FDA. A negative test does not rule out a past COVID-19 infection. Positive results are highly accurate but negative results may need to be confirmed with a molecular test.
Important Information If you have symptoms you should quarantine yourself even if you have a negative test result. Antibody testing should not be used as the sole determination of infection status. Antigen, or rapid tests, are more likely to produce a FALSE result even if you have COVID-19 (false negative). These tests should be used in health care settings with patients who are symptomatic and likelihood of a COVID-19 infection is highly likely.

Why is the CDC’s 2019 Real Time PCR Test being retired?

Recently, the CDC requested that the emergency use authorization (EUA) issued by the FDA for the CDC 2019 Real-Time PCR test be retired. The CDC no longer needs to maintain this EUA because the FDA has authorized hundreds of other SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests since the beginning of the pandemic. The removal of this test is not related to the accuracy or reliability of it and only applies to the CDC’s PCR test and does not apply to any other PCR tests authorized for use by the FDA.

Click to learn more about the retirement of the CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus Real Time PCR Diagnostic Panel.

Antibody Testing:

An antibody test, also known as “serology tests,” may not be able to show if you have a current infection, because it can take 1-3 weeks to make antibodies after symptoms occur. Antibody testing can be a useful tool for public health and our community to help us understand how many people have been infected. However, this type of testing may give persons tested a false sense of security.

Click to learn more about antibody testing limitations and what a positive or negative antibody test means. 

What is contact tracing?

Butte County Public Health has a team of case investigators and contact tracers who play a crucial role in the COVID-19 response. When a person tests positive for COVID-19, the team calls the person to evaluate symptoms and provide education regarding isolation. They also help identify close contacts who may have been exposed during the person’s infectious period.

Contact tracers reach out to these contacts to provide education regarding quarantine and testing recommendations in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.

You may or may not be contacted by Public Health based on the current case load.  When necessary, priority is given to health care workers and first responders, persons living in congregate living facilities, and agencies or businesses who perform critical infrastructure services in the community. 

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Butte County Public Health
Phone: 530.552.4000
TTY: 530.538.6588
Fax:        530.538.2165

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Butte County Public Health
202 Mira Loma Drive
Oroville, CA 95965

Office Hours
Monday to Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Except Holidays

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Public Health Department

202 Mira Loma Drive
Oroville, CA 95965

Report a Health Emergency
24-Hour Line: 530.552.4000

Danette York, MPH, Director
Dr. David Canton, Health Officer

Public Health Leadership Team