Should you be tested for COVID-19? NCDHHS releases new guidelines

Should you be tested for COVID-19? NCDHHS releases new guidelines
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Tuesday released updated guidance on who should be tested for COVID-19. (Source: Coastal Carolina University)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV) - The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Tuesday released updated guidance on who should be tested for COVID-19.

“North Carolina is focused on rapidly increasing testing of people who may not currently have symptoms, but may have been exposed to COVID-19, especially people from historically marginalized populations who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” health officials said.

In an effort to help with testing in areas hit hardest by the pandemic, NCDHHS announced the COVID-19 Community Testing in Historically Marginalized Populations: Best Practices site. You can find that here.

The updated guidance recommends that clinicians conduct, or arrange for diagnostic COVID-19 testing, for:

  • Anyone with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
  • Close contacts of known positive cases, regardless of symptoms.
  • The following groups are some of the populations with higher risk of exposure or a higher risk of severe disease if they become infected. People in these groups should get tested if they believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms: 
  1. People who live in or have regular contact with high-risk settings (e.g., long-term care facility, homeless shelter, correctional facility, migrant farmworker camp). 
  2. Historically marginalized populations who may be at higher risk for exposure.
  3. Frontline and essential workers (grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, child care workers, construction sites, processing plants, etc.) in settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
  4. Health care workers or first responders (e.g. EMS, law enforcement, fire department, military). 
  5. People who are at high risk of severe illness (e.g., people over 65 years of age, people of any age with underlying health conditions). 
  • People who have attended protests, rallies, or other mass gatherings could have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or could have exposed others. Testing should be considered for people who attended such events, particularly if they were in crowds or other situations where they couldn’t practice effective social distancing. 

NCDHHS also released new tools to help people who are considering being tested for COVID-19 find a nearby testing place:

  • Check My Symptoms (www.ncdhhs.gov/symptoms), a public website that allows people to enter their symptoms to determine if they should consider getting tested for COVID-19. If a test is recommended, they will receive a link to a list of nearby testing sites via email or text. 
  • Find My Testing Place (www.ncdhhs.gov/TestingPlace), a public website that allows people to enter their county or ZIP code and access a list of nearby testing site locations online.

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