SPECIAL BULLETIN COVID-19 #51: NCDHHS COVID-19 Guidance for NC Clinicians and Laboratories

Monday, April 20, 2020

An update to COVID-19 guidance for North Carolina clinicians and laboratories is now available. This update includes: 

  • Updated laboratory testing guidance, 
  • Updated criteria for submission of specimens to the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health (NCSLPH), and 
  • Replacement of information that is not North Carolina-specific with links to relevant CDC guidance.

As we look toward the next phase of our response to this pandemic, increased access to testing to enable rapid case-based interventions, understand the spread of disease in North Carolina, and inform public health actions will be an important aspect. Efforts are underway to further expand capacity both nationally and in North Carolina.

Although the potential for supply chain issues remains, testing capacity has improved over recent weeks, particularly at commercial laboratories. Therefore, NCDHHS has updated its laboratory testing guidance specifying that clinicians can consider testing for any patient in whom COVID-19 is suspected. Providers should consider sample collection strategies that preserve personal protective equipment if possible, such as having a dedicated team, practice site, or testing center that performs sample collections. 

Testing through commercial and health system labs should be conducted accordingly to their protocols. Testing through NCSLPH is available for prioritized populations specified in the updated guidance.

This is a rapidly evolving situation. Please check www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus for updates and additional guidance.