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Criteria to Guide Evaluation and Laboratory Testing for COVID-19 Clinicians and Laboratories

Prior approval from the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) for submission of specimens to the OSDH Public Health Laboratory (PHL) is no longer required. Please refer to the OSDH PHL testing priorities in the OK-HAN alert linked below.

Clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested. Most patients with confirmed COVID-19 have developed fever and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing). To make the best use of COVID-19 laboratory testing resources at the OSDH PHL, please only submit specimens to the OSDH PHL that are compatible with the criteria indicated below.

*For patients who do not meet the below priorities, clinicians should submit specimens to a commercial laboratory that provides SARS-CoV-2 testing (e.g., LabCorp, Quest, Clinical Pathology Laboratories or any reference laboratory your facility uses). Please contact these commercial laboratories to find out the correct process for submission of specimens for testing.

COVID-19 Testing Priorities at the OSDH PHL

Clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested. Only submit specimens for patients who present with fever (at least 100.4oF) and symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing), and one of the following:

  • Hospitalized patients who have signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses have been ruled-out in order to inform decisions related to infection control.
  • Other symptomatic individuals at higher risk for poor outcomes, including those who are ≥ 65 years, immunocompromised or have chronic medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, receiving immunosuppressive medications, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease).
  • Suspected outbreak of COVID-19 among associated individuals with recent onset of similar fever and lower respiratory symptoms. Please, contact the OSDH Acute Disease Service at (405) 271-4060 to report suspected outbreaks.
  • Suspect COVID-19 in a patient associated with a high-risk exposure setting such as a long-term care facility.
  • Patients, including healthcare personnel, who within 14 days of symptom onset had close contact with a suspect or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient, or who have a history of travel from affected geographic areas (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html) within 14 days of their symptom onset.

For more instructions, find the full guidance listed in the OK-HAN alert linked here: