Evaluating and Testing for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Guidance for evaluating, testing, and reporting COVID-19 in Minnesota.
- Rapid IgM/IgG SARS-CoV-2 Tests (PDF)
Recommendations and testing concerns for clinics and health care providers.
- See Health Alert Network for advisories.
Current guidance for testing
This guidance is intended to assist with prioritization of testing and is not intended to limit testing.
Symptomatic people across the continuum of care (including hospitalized, long-term and transitional care and ambulatory care) and symptomatic health care workers.
Asymptomatic People in Congregate Settings
Congregate living settings including long term care facilities, shelters, and prisons. Testing should be done according to guidance issued by MDH.
Staff Working in High Risk Settings
Employees working in high risk areas, including those working in hospital/clinic settings where there is direct contact with COVID-19 patients, those working in long-term care facilities, shelter workers, and prison guards. It is likely that some people will need testing on a regular basis because of repeated high-risk exposures in the workplace. If a point-prevalence survey is done in a facility, staff should be included as part of the prioritization for the facility-wide testing. If not testing everyone, prioritize:
- Symptomatic staff
- Asymptomatic staff ending their quarantine period
- Asymptomatic staff who work in a facility that has COVID-19 cases
Cluster investigations where groups of people are associated with a case of COVID-19, even if a direct contact isn't identified. This could include specific workplace-wide or facility-wide clusters implicated to have outbreaks of COVID-19. The testing approach should be done in consultation with MDH.
Asymptomatic People Requiring Medical Care
Examples include: Patients planning to undergo an aerosol-generating procedure (procedure involving the airway or esophagus such as intubation, bronchoscopy, upper esophageal endoscopy, dental procedures, etc.), or patients undergoing other procedures that may be delayed based on testing results (patients undergoing procedures like chemotherapy, cardiac surgery, or other procedures in which COVID-19 infection may worsen outcome) or patients admitted to the hospital.
Asymptomatic Mission-Critical Workers
Public utility workers essential to maintain critical infrastructure if requested by utility.
MDH Public Health Laboratory (PHL) testing priorities
Only send specimens to MDH-PHL for:
- Symptomatic residents and staff in congregate living settings (long term care facilities, prisons/jails, shelters for people experiencing homelessness, etc.).
- Symptomatic dialysis patients.
- Symptomatic patients that cannot be tested at an in-house lab, commercial lab, or through negotiated access to the University of Minnesota or Mayo Clinic labs.
Positive results from MDH will be communicated immediately to the provider. Negative and positive results will be faxed immediately to the submitting laboratory; please do not call us for the results. Results may not be available for up to 3 days. Please inform your patient of the result and do not have them call us for results.
Patients awaiting testing or results
Patients with undiagnosed fever and/or acute respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) who are awaiting testing or results should:
- Self-isolate for 10 days after illness onset and 72 hours after resolution of fever without taking fever-reducing medications, and improvement of respiratory symptoms, whichever is longer.
- Isolate themselves from household and intimate contacts as much as possible.
Household and intimate contacts of these individuals should limit their activities in public for 14 days after incorporating precautions in the home, and monitor for symptoms.
- COVID-19 Patient Testing Form (PDF)
Complete one form for each patient being tested. 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