Right now, all tests for COVID-19 must be ordered by a physician. Federal and state agencies are working to expand access to testing, but currently testing supplies and laboratories are limited. That’s why testing must be prioritized. Not everyone should get tested. Clinicians use certain criteria to determine if testing is warranted. Priorities for testing include:
- Hospitalized patients who have signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19
- Other symptomatic individuals such as older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions or are immunocompromised
- Any persons who, within 14 days of showing symptoms, had close contact with a suspect or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient, or who have a history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of their symptom onset
- Healthcare professionals who care for patients with COVID-19
Local health departments cannot evaluate, test, or treat COVID-19.