Testing Information for Patients
Please do not advise patients to call SRHD for consultation or testing. SRHD does not provide testing nor do we have nurses on staff to assess a patient’s clinical condition. Please advise patients according to the documents below:
Summary Updated Interim COVID-19 Testing Guidance for Providers
Please review the following for an overview of COVID-19 testing guidance. You can find complete information by viewing the DOH Interim COVID-19 Testing Guidance for Healthcare Providers document.
- Test all patients with new onset of symptoms consistent with COVID-19, regardless of their age or health status. COVID-19 patients may present with cough or shortness of breath OR at least two of the following: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.
- Rapidly testing all patients with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 is critical to identifying and isolating cases, quarantining their contacts, and suppressing community spread.
- While this guidance expands groups of persons eligible for testing, prioritizing of certain symptomatic persons may be necessary until adequate test supplies are available.
- Limit testing of asymptomatic persons to those with exposure, including close contacts and individuals exposed during an outbreak in a congregate setting. (Note: close contacts still need to remain in quarantine for 14 days after their last date of exposure even with a negative test.)
- The guidance further outlines additional asymptomatic people who can be considered for testing if adequate testing supplies are available. Please consult the full document.
- Continue to educate all patients you test, including emphasizing isolation for ill persons and quarantine for exposed contacts:
- The preferred diagnostic test is a PCR-based test.
- Specimens sent to CLIA-certified labs for PCR-based tests have demonstrated higher sensitivity and fewer false negatives than point-of-care tests.
- Additionally, serology or antibody tests are not recommended for making a COVID-19 diagnosis or to reliably determine whether someone has experienced a past infection with COVID-19 (more below).
- The guidance further outlines the types of swabs preferred for COVID-19 testing and appropriate specimen collection and storage/transport, including self-collected nasal swabs under healthcare provider observation. Please consult the full document.
Discontinuing Home Isolation
Consistent with CDC guidelines, Washington State DOH recommends persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue home isolation under the following conditions:
- At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery, defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and,
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
- Additionally, in an abundance of caution, SRHD recommends patients who have recovered from COVID-19 consider refraining from social gatherings of ≥ 10 persons and individuals at high risk of severe outcomes (people over the age of 60, people with underlying health issues) and continue social distancing and other appropriate non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) for an additional 10-14 days beyond the recommended period of self-isolation.