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March 20, 2020 - Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Update on Testing and Guidance for Discontinuing Home Isolation

Friday, March 20, 2020

This guidance provides an overview for DC Healthcare Providers about 1) updated specimen collection and submission instructions and 2) required disposition for discontinuing home isolation for persons diagnosed with COVID-19.

DC Health has not yet adopted clinical criteria for diagnosing COVID-19 cases. All cases must be laboratory confirmed for COVID-19.

  • Providers no longer need to submit the CDC 50.34 Test Requisition Form
  • It is preferred that providers collect both an NP swab and an OP swab and place both swabs into a single specimen tube with viral transport media (VTM) or universal transport media (UTM). NP swabs alone are an acceptable alternative.
  • Specimens should be collected using contact and droplet precautions with eye protection (face shield or goggles) AND
  • In a private room with a closed door
  • Please preserve negative pressure rooms and respirators (i.e. N95) for aerosolizing procedures only (until the supply chain stabilizes)
  • Discontinuation of home isolation should be based on both a time-since-illness-onset and time-since-recovery (non-test-based) strategy for the general public, and 2) preferably a test-based strategy for healthcare workers.

Please note that since limited information is available to characterize the spectrum of clinical illness, transmission efficiency, and the duration of viral shedding for persons with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), this guidance is subject to change as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses and as additional information becomes available.