Information for healthcare providers and laboratories on COVID-19 testing and reporting
Please see attached guidance for healthcare providers on COVID-19 testing in Washington State. There are currently no required criteria from CDC or Public Health for who can be tested for COVID-19 as commercial laboratories as testing becomes more widely available. Where access to testing is limited, we suggest prioritization of limited capacity as described in the attached guidance.
Due to the increasing volume of reports, Public Health is not able to routinely conduct case or contact investigations for all COVID-19 case reports. Please see below for reporting guidance:
- Healthcare providers should report by phone (206-296-4774) all COVID-19 cases in the following persons:
- All healthcare personnel (medical, nursing, AND any other facility employee, EMS)
- Residents of skilled nursing or long term care facilities
- Persons residing in other institutional settings (shelters, correctional facilities)
- Deaths associated with COVID-19
Public Health requests clinicians obtain COVID-19 testing on all cases of critically-ill patients with unexplained respiratory illness (including immediately post-mortem if not already obtained). Testing once a patient or decedent has left the facility is often not possible to obtain.
For Healthcare providers choosing to submit specimens through the Washington State Public Health Laboratory (PHL), follow the instructions below.
- Review Specimen Collection and Submission Instructions for 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Collect nasopharyngeal AND oropharyngeal swabs AND sputum where possible (DO NOT INDUCE SPUTUM).
- For specimens submitted to the WA PHL please be sure to complete information on the specimen submission forms to facilitate public health investigation when necessary (PHL is currently backlogged with specimens with longer than usual turnaround times):
- Complete the specimen submission form. One completed form needs to accompany each specimen collected. For example, you need to fill out two separate forms when submitting an NP and OP specimen for COVID-19 testing.
- To get testing approved by Public Health, complete the online RedCap specimen submission request (we will be informed by email of your online submissions) OR fax line list template (attached) for facilities to 206-296-4803. Put "Attn COVID-19 test request" on the fax coversheet. We will monitor incoming faxed line lists daily and follow-up with you on these cases to approve testing. Please fill in all known fields.
- PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT SPECIMENS TO WA PHL WITHOUT APPROVAL FROM PUBLIC HEALTH - this will further delay testing.
- Once Public Health- Seattle & King County receives the testing request from a HCF through online RedCap form or faxed linelist we will call you to assign a 2019-nCoV ID number authorizing submission.
Regardless of where testing occurs the following resources should be provided to patients:
- Patients who test positive for COVID-19 or who are suspected to have COVID-19 infection and who are not hospitalized should receive information on management of isolation in the community.
- What to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- What to do if you have symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and have not been around anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19