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Delaware Health Alert Network #421

March 10, 2020 2:17 pm


Health Advisory
COMMERCIAL LABORATORY TESTING FOR THE CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 (COVID-19)

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is issuing this health advisory to provide health care providers with an update to the laboratory testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Summary

  • Commercial laboratory testing for COVID-19 is available (LabCorp, Quest, Mayo)
  • Testing is still available at the Delaware Public Health Laboratory
  • COVID-19 is a reportable condition
  • If there is a strong clinical suspicion of COVID-19, call 1-888-295-5156 to consult with DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, or report through reportdisease@delaware.gov, within 24 hours of submission of test samples to a commercial lab, to allow for surveillance and monitoring as appropriate.

COVID-19 testing is now available from at least one commercial laboratory, with additional laboratories expected to begin to offer testing over the next several days. Testing is still available through the Delaware Public Health Laboratory. Use only synthetic fiber swabs with plastic shafts. Do not use calcium alginate swabs or swabs with wooden shafts, as they may contain substances that inactivate some viruses and inhibit PCR testing. Place swabs immediately into sterile tubes containing 2-3 ml of viral transport media. NP and OP specimens may be kept in separate vials or combined at collection into a single vial.

Clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested. Decisions on which patients receive testing should be based on the local epidemiology of COVID-19, as well as the clinical course of illness. Clinicians are strongly encouraged to test for other causes of respiratory illness, including infections such as influenza. For guidance on how to submit to a commercial laboratory, refer to the guidance the commercial laboratories provide as they come online.

Most patients with confirmed COVID-19 have developed fever and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing). Priorities for testing may include:

  1. Hospitalized patients who have signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 in order to inform decisions related to infection control;
  2. Other symptomatic individuals such as older adults (age > 65 years) and individuals with chronic medical conditions and/or an immunocompromised state that may put them at higher risk for poor outcomes (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, receiving immunosuppressive medications, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease);
  3. Any persons including healthcare personnel, who within 14 days of symptom onset had close contact with a suspect or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient, or who have a history of travel from affected geographic areas where sustained community transmission has been identified (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html)

Background

Initially, laboratory testing was only available via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention upon request by DPH. DPH’s State Lab began testing for the disease on Monday March 4, 2020. Testing at the State Lab still requires DPH approval. Testing at commercial labs does not require DPH approval; however, if there is a strong clinical suspicion of COVID-19, clinicians should call 1-888-295-5156 to consult with DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, or report through reportdisease@delaware.gov, within 24 hours of submission of test samples to a commercial lab, to allow for surveillance and monitoring as appropriate.

Recommendations/Reporting

  • COVID-19 is a reportable condition to the DPH. Any positive test results from any laboratory must be reported to DPH via the Delaware Electronic Reporting Surveillance System (DERSS).
  • If you have a strong clinical suspicion that a patient may be infected with COVID-19 based on clinical symptoms and epidemiological factors (e.g., close contact with a confirmed case, recent travel to an area with sustained transmission), contact the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 1-888-295-5156, or report through reportdisease@delaware.gov within 24 hours leading to submission of test samples to a commercial lab to allow for surveillance and monitoring as appropriate.

Additional Information

For a complete list of CDC’s clinical resources, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

LabCorp

www.labcorp.com/tests/139900/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-naa

www.labcorp.com/assets-media/2330

Quest Diagnostics

www.questdiagnostics.com/home/Covid-19

www.questdiagnostics.com/dms/Documents/covid-19/SARSCoV-2_HCP_Fact_Sheet.pdf

Phone: (866) MY-QUEST (866-697-8378)

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