Evaluating and Testing for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Evaluating and Testing for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

On this page:
Collecting Specimens
Home Care Instructions

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.


Collecting Specimens

  • 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).

Updated Tuesday, 24-Mar-2020 09:45:48 CDT