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LA Dept. of Health releases new guidelines for local testing of COVID-19

All patients with a fever, respiratory symptoms and a negative influenza test in Louisiana should receive a COVID-19 test.
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Posted at 3:37 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-13 17:13:22-04

LAFAYETTE, La. (KATC) — The Louisiana Department of Health has released new recommendations for Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing for patients who believe they may have symptoms.

An LDH spokesperson is also advising those who suspect they are showing symptoms to call ahead to their primary care provider to arrange testing before showing up in order to prevent overwhelming the system.

All patients with a fever, respiratory symptoms and a negative influenza test in Louisiana should receive a COVID-19 test, according to LDH.

State testing for the disease will be free and is considered an essential benefit for medicaid and medicare recipients.

The Louisiana 211 Network is also answering calls from the public about COVID-19.

According to the LDH press release, all patients suspected and undergoing testing for COVID-19 should isolate at home until they receive their test results.

If test results are positive, patients should be isolated at home until cleared by a physician or public health official.

Providers should use commercial labs for any specimens collected with the exception of high priority patients.

The state public health lab will continue to test samples of high-priority patients who meet the following criteria:

  • Hospitalized patients with a severe respiratory illness with no other known cause.
  • Suspected outbreak of COVID-19 among associated individuals with recent onset of similar fever and lower respiratory symptoms.
  • Recent fever and lower respiratory symptoms in a healthcare worker with direct contact to a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case.
  • Suspected COVID-19 in a patient associated with a high-risk exposure setting such as a long-term care facility or a correctional facility.

For initial diagnostic testing for COVID-19, the State of Louisiana now recommends collecting and testing a single nasopharyngeal (NP) swab, or a nose swab.

LDH also released a health alert for local providers.