7/7/20 – Health Advisory: COVID-19 Updates for Providers

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Requested actions

  • Be aware Washington State Department of Health (DOH) updated its COVID-19 testing guidance.
  • Test all patients with COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Test asymptomatic people from a priority population (see details below).


Providers must fax positive lab results with demographic information to 509-249-6628.


Last week, DOH updated its COVID-19 testing guidance for healthcare providers. The updates include:

  • Revised language to stress the importance of testing mildly symptomatic people and asymptomatic close contacts.
  • Added recommendation to test all infants born to parents with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
  • Removed specimen type preference.
  • Described new process for ordering labs at Washington State Public Health Labs.
  • Clarified language about consenting minors.

Test all patients with COVID-19 symptoms—and their close contacts, even if they are asymptomatic.

Test all patients with new onset of COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of age or health status. Test patients as soon as possible after seeking care, ideally within 24 hours. We strongly encourage broad testing.

Prioritize testing for these asymptomatic people:

  • Close contact of a case.
  • Exposed to COVID-19 during an outbreak in a congregate setting.
  • From a racial or ethnic group disproportionately effected by COVID-19—Latinx, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, African American, American Indian and Alaska Native.
  • At higher risk for severe disease due to working or living conditions, inequitable access to healthcare or comorbid condition.
  • Pregnant and in labor.
  • Infants born to parents with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
  • Undergoing a procedure that increases the risk of aerosolized particle spread.
  • Undergoing an invasive surgical procedure (if possible, test within 48 hours of procedure).

Patient communication

Share these materials with patients.

Additional resources