Evaluating and Testing for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
There is a national shortage of test reagents and supplies. MDH has a very limited supply of testing materials. Four major commercial laboratories offering testing may also be out of reagents.
Current guidance for testing:
- MDH will prioritize testing of specimens from hospitalized patients, health care workers or their ill household contacts, and persons living or working in congregate living settings (e.g., corrections facilities, group homes, long-term care facilities) who have symptoms clinically compatible with COVID-19.
- For all other patients, assess whether your clinic can send specimens to a commercial reference laboratory; determine priorities for testing and assess whether these labs have restrictions (at present we are aware that all four laboratories have also run out of reagents and may not be able to accept specimens).
- Inform all patients who present with undiagnosed fever and/or acute respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath), even those not able to be tested, that they should self-isolate for:
- 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 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
- Symptomatic patients who are not able to be tested should isolate themselves from household and intimate contacts as much as possible.
- Household and intimate contacts of these individuals who are asymptomatic should limit their activities in public for 14 days after incorporating precautions in the home, and monitor for symptoms.
Previous guidance and advisories can be found at Health Alert Network.
- COVID-19 Patient Reporting Form (PDF)
Complete one form for each patient being tested. Fax form to 651-201-5743 and include a copy with specimen submission.
- Forms for the Infectious Disease Laboratory
Clinical testing and submission forms for the MDH Public Health Laboratory.
Be sure to include project number 2618.
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Specimen Guidance
MDH Public Health Laboratory guidance and answers to frequently asked questions.
- CDC: Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens from Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- CDC: Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) or Persons Under Investigation for COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings
- CDC: Specimen Collection
Videos on collecting specimens. The page is specific to pertussis, but the specimen collection guidance is universal.
Home Care Instructions
Health care providers should review with their patients the following CDC recommendations for the home care of patients being evaluated for COVID-19 who do not need to be hospitalized.
Please assist patients and household members with accessing personal protective equipment (disposable facemasks and gloves).
- CDC: Interim Guidance for Implementing Home Care of People Not Requiring Hospitalization for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
- CDC: Interim Guidance for Preventing the Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Homes and Residential Communities