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COVID-19 Testing

Student Testing:

Between December 21st 2020 and January 4th 2021, students are advised to receive COVID-19 testing at any of the Merced County testing locations listed on this Merced County website page.


Employee On-Site Testing Event on Thursday December 3rd, 2020:

Post-Thanksgiving Break On-Site COVID-19 Testing for Active On-Campus Employees

Location: UC Merced Gymnasium in the Gallo Recreation Center
Date: Thursday December 3rd, 2020
Time: Between 9:00 AM and 12:30 PM

Register for a time block using this Booking System. If you have not previously participated in On-Site COVID-19 Testing, please fill out this Registration Form prior to your arrival, and bring the printed form with you to your appointment. A Picture ID is required.
If you have not done so already, you will have to sign a release of information form at your appointment so that the results of your test can be shared with the COVID-19 Employee Testing Coordinator at UC Merced.

Employee Testing Options:

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, please notify Castle Family Health Centers of your symptomatic status prior to your arrival.

Walk-In/Drive-Thru Testing:
Castle Family Health Centers (3605 Hospital Rd, Atwater, CA 95301)
Monday-Friday 8:00am-6:30pm
UC Merced employees need to identify themselves as employees when they register.
Call (209) 723-8504 for questions or more information.


Asymptomatic Testing

Remember, if you are a designated employee working at any UC Merced site (onsite at least once a week with weekly reoccurrence), you are required to get tested for COVID-19. After you receive results of your first test, you will need to take a second test within 14 days.

There are three ways to get tested:

Option 1: Go to Castle Family Health Center

Testing Location: Castle Family Health Center (3605 Hospital Rd, Atwater, CA 95301)

  • Castle is open Monday through Friday 8:00AM-6:30PM
  • They have drive-thru testing and NO APPOINTMENT IS NEEDED


  • Bring your insurance card and Driver License or ID card
    • If your insurance is not currently accepted at Castle Health Clinic, UC Merced will pay Castle Family Health Center for your COVID-19 testing
  • Tell the Castle staff person who registers you that you are a UC Merced Employee
  • Sign a release of information form so that the results of your test can be shared with the COVID-19 Employee Testing Coordinator at UC Merced


Option 2: UC Merced On-Site Testing has ended for the Fall 2020 Semester


Option 3: Get tested at a certified testing provider of your choosing, as long as results are within 4 days of the exam, and send your results to Castle Family Health Center.


  • Fax your COVID-19 Test Results to Castle Family Health Center - Medical Records Department - (209) 381-2044

  • Identify on the Fax that you are a UC Merced employee

  • Write your UC Merced email address on the document that you are faxing


What happens after the test?

  • Once Castle receives your results they will contact you and share the results. We ask you please contact the COVID Response Center at (209)-228-0000 as soon as possible if you test positive for COVID-19 for further instructions.
  • If you have received a direct invoice from Castle Family Health, that is in error.  Please contact the COVID Repsonse Center ( and they will have the charge removed by Castle Family Health.  Apologies for any confusion.

UC Merced COVID-19 Testing Strategy

UC Merced has opted for an asymptomatic testing strategy for returning students and employees due to the lack of a health care infrastructure in this area. A combined symptomatic testing and lot quality assurance testing approach for ongoing active disease screening was developed in partnership with UCSF. Weekly testing is performed on a subset of students and employees who in aggregate comprise fifteen percent of the onsite campus population each month. Detecting 3 or more positive cases within a calendar month will trigger comprehensive testing in a targeted area i.e. dormitory, laboratory etc. This approach conserves testing resources while enabling adequate disease screening.

UC Merced COVID-19 Asymptomatic Screening Overview

The University’s asymptomatic testing program will require all students, faculty and staff, who are currently working on or will be returning to the campus to have two negative test results over a 14 day period to establish a baseline, followed by weekly tests of random individuals throughout the campus community. The expectation is that an individual will not be randomly tested more than twice in a semester.

UC Merced COVID-19 Lot Quality

The ongoing COVID-19 lot quality program will utilize a random sampling approach geared towards minimizing the risk of an outbreak.  The subsets, called “Lots” will be organized by their general interactions, with the current University operations split between Campus Residents and Research/Campus Operations.
Monthly, 15% of the expected campus population, or 350 individuals, will be tested as part of the asymptomatic testing program, with the Campus Resident Lot consisting of 100 tests and the Research and Campus Operations consisting of 250 tests.