NCDHHS Reiterates Testing Guidance
Today, State Epidemiologist Zack Moore, MD, MPH sent a memo reminding clinicians of the guidance issued on April 20, which recommended conducting or arranging for diagnostic testing for any patient in whom COVID-19 is suspected. Read his full memo here.
Providers should consider sample collection strategies that preserve personal protective equipment if possible, such as having a dedicated team, practice site or testing center that performs sample collections.
As new collection sites and modalities are established, ensure these populations have access to testing:
• Anyone with symptoms suggestive of COVID-191
• Close contacts of known positive cases, regardless of symptoms
• Regardless of symptoms, anyone at higher risk of exposure or at a higher risk for severe disease. Such patient populations are:
o Persons who live in or have regular contact with high-risk settings (e.g., long-term care facility, homeless shelter, correctional facility, migrant farmworker camp);
o Persons who are at high risk of severe illness (e.g., people over 65 years of age, people of any age with underlying health conditions);
o Persons who come from historically marginalized populations;
o Health care workers or first responders (e.g. EMS, law enforcement, fire department, military);
o Front-line and essential workers (grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, etc.) in settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
The NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) now has sites for sample collection statewide listed here.
Testing through commercial and health system labs should be conducted according to their protocols. Testing through the NC State Laboratory of Public Health is available for prioritized populations specified in the guidance.
This is a rapidly evolving situation. Please check the NCDHHS COVID-19 website for updates and additional guidance.