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

Video posted on October 2, 2020

COVID-19 testing must be done by a healthcare provider or one of these testing locations. COVID-19 testing is not performed at Butte County Public Health clinics.

Who should be tested for COVID-19? 

Anyone can get tested for COVID-19, even persons who do not have symptoms. People who should be tested for COVID-19 are those with or without symptoms who have traveled to an affected area with COVID-19 or had close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19. Notify your healthcare provider by phone if you believe you could have COVID-19. Call ahead so that you can be safely evaluated to prevent exposing others.

For more information about COVID-19 Testing, visit the CDC Tests for COVID-19 website.

Where can I get tested?

View COVID-19 Testing Sites in Butte and Glenn County. Spanish | Hmong

OptumServe Specimen Collection Site - NEW Location: 900 Mangrove Ave., in Chico

The State of California and the COVID-19 Testing Task Force have joined together with OptumServe in a partnership to expand testing services in Butte County at 900 Mangrove Avenue in Chico. Appointments are scheduled M – F, 7:00 am to 7:00 pm for viral specimen collection.

View more information about OptumServe Testing.

Testing is by appointment only. Schedule your appointment:

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 4-7 business days, 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.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 please follow the instructions to safely isolate during your infection

    • Stay at your approved isolation location at all times.
    • You do not need to wear a mask while alone in your home or room. However, you should wear a mask when you are indoors in parts of a house that you share with other people.
    • You may go outside in the open air without a mask or face cover if you can maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others.
    • DO NOT let visitors come inside your home or room except for health care workers or a campus or county designated support person wearing a mask.
    • If sharing a bathroom in a home, open the window or turn on a fan, and disinfect bathroom surfaces after each use, including all door and faucet handles.
    • If you are staying in a motel, special arrangements can be made to minimize housekeeping staff being exposed.
    • Always use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away and wash your hands with soap and water.

Per CDC guidelines, isolation can end 10 days after the onset of symptoms (or after the specimen collection date in people without symptoms), as long as the person has been fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication and symptoms are resolving.

You may or may not be contact by Public Health based on case load. The number of positive cases currently being confirmed in Butte County makes it impossible for Public Health to contact every person. If you contact public health because you have received a positive COVID-19 test result, please allow 24-48 hours to receive a return call.

View instructions for isolation and returning to work/school:

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.

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. The number of positive cases currently being confirmed in Butte County makes it difficult for Public Health to contact every positive case or every contact. 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

Report a Health Emergency, 24-Hour Line
530.552.4000

E-Mail Public Health:
phinfo@buttecounty.net

View full list of Public Health program contacts.
View Campus Map: Table Mtn. Blvd./Mira Loma Drive
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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, M.P.H., Director
Robert Bernstein, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., Health Officer
Public Health Leadership Team

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