What Employers Need to Know About Coronavirus Testing

(CENTENNIAL, COLO.) As concern about coronavirus (COVID-19)– the upper-respiratory infection that was first diagnosed in humans in Wuhan, China in late 2019 – grows, some employers have begun to take precautions, including sending employees to local emergency rooms and physicians for COVID-19 testing. Centura wants to help our communities and employers understand the criteria for testing and why sending an employee to a healthcare facility may be an unproductive trip.

“While health care providers no longer need preapproval from the public health department for testing, physicians are still asked to adhere to the testing criteria established by the State health department and CDC,” explained Andrew French, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Centura – St. Anthony North Health Campus. “We are also expected to avoid testing individuals who do not meet criteria.”

Within Colorado specimens for COVID-19 will only be tested if they meet one of three criteria:

  1. A person has a fever or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g. cough and shortness of breath) and has had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset.
  2. A person has a fever or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g. cough and shortness of breath) without alternative explanatory diagnosis (e.g. influenza) and a history of travel to areas with ongoing community transmission within 14 days of symptom onset.
  3. A person has a severe acute lower respiratory illness (e.g. pneumonia) requiring hospitalization and without alternative explanatory diagnosis (e.g. influenza) and no source of exposure has been identified.

Therefore, when a patient comes to the emergency room, urgent care center or primary care physician office and has only signs of a cold (e.g. runny nose, cough) but does not meet the full criteria, the patient does not meet criteria to be tested.

“To avoid a source of frustration for employees and employers, we encourage employers to supplement their knowledge of coronavirus by visiting the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” stated Dr. French.

Centura Health, the region’s health care leader, believes accurate and current information is a key part of keeping our communities whole and healthy.

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Centura Health connects individuals, families and neighborhoods across Colorado and western Kansas with more than 6,000 physicians and 21,000 of the best hearts and minds in health care. Through our 17 hospitals, two senior living communities, neighborhood health centers, physician practices and clinics, home care and hospice services, and Flight For Life® Colorado, our caregivers make the region’s best health care accessible. We’re on a mission to build flourishing communities and whole person care. We’re Centura Health, and we’re your dedicated health partner for life. For information on Centura Health or any of the facilities in our network, please visit the Centura Health website.

Wendy Forbes

Centura Health does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, religion, creed, ancestry, sexual orientation, and marital status in admission, treatment, or participation in its programs, services and activities, or in employment. For further information about this policy contact Centura Health’s Office of the General Counsel at 1-303-673-8166 (TTY: 711). Copyright © Centura Health, 2017. ATENCIÓN: Si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-719-776-5370 (TTY: 711). CHÚ Ý: Nếu bạn nói Tiếng Việt, có các dịch vụ hỗ trợ ngôn ngữ miễn phí dành cho bạn. Gọi số 1-719-776-5370 (TTY: 711).