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March 26, 2020 - Coronavirus (COVID-19): Updated Priorities for Testing Patients with Suspected COVID-19 Infection and Updated Prioritization of Contact Tracing by DC Health


Thursday, March 26, 2020

Testing for Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is now available through the DC Public Health Laboratory, commercial laboratories and some hospital-based clinical laboratories. While increasing testing capacity will allow clinicians to consider COVID-19 testing for a wider group of symptomatic patients, clinicians should also keep in mind that there is a national shortage of tests reagents and supplies.

  • Clinicians should take into consideration the testing priorities listed in this health notice when evaluating a patient with respiratory symptoms and continue testing for other more common respiratory viruses.
  • Clinicians should appropriately guide their patients on home quarantine while test results are pending
  • Clinicians should be prepared to provide patients who test positive for COVID-19 with home-isolation guidelines and information for household and close contacts (DC Health will now be limiting contact tracing to specific situations and high priority groups)

DC Health has updated testing priorities in DC based upon the updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on March 24th (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/clinical-criteria.html).

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