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FAQs by DPH

FAQs by DPH

Here you will find frequently asked questions provided by the Department of Public Health. Please be adviced that in the ever changing times the FAQs might become outdated sooner than we anticipate. We will try to keep the FAQs as up to date as possible! 

 

FAQ: June 30th 

What are the criteria for testing?

Here is the link to the current (June 9, 2020) testing guidance for clinicians.  Please monitor the DHHS website for periodic changes to this guidance (which will also be shared through normal channels to the provider community).

https://files.nc.gov/covid/documents/guidance/healthcare/COVID-19-Provider-Guidance-Final.pdf

 

Is it possible to list the age ranges tested at a given testing site? (through the find a testing site link)

Our testing folks indicate they are working on adding information about testing kids.

 

What is the role of local health departments with testing and tracing?

Local health departments are responsible for stopping disease spread by assuring confirmed cases are notified of required control measures (i.e. need to isolate until they meet the end of isolation criteria) and eliciting the names/contact information for the individuals they may have exposed to COVID-19 and then notifying those individuals of their exposure and provide them with the appropriate control measures (i.e. need to quarantine for 14 days past last date of exposure to virus).  Some LHDs offer COVID-19 testing at the county health department, but not all of them so you will have to check with your LHD to determine if they offer this service.

 

Adequate PPE is still a barrier. Any suggestions for ways to address? Either ways to prioritize distribution of PPE or ways to maximize PPE? Or should communities work towards centralized test sites as opposed to relying on individual practices?

The state continues to source and procure PPE on a regular basis. The supply chain for PPE is improved but demand remains high.  Providers can use the link below for requesting PPE.  Each community is different.  However, community testing sites (ex: high throughput testing, mobile testing) do conserve PPE.

https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/information/health-care/requesting-ppe 

 

There seems to be shortage of consistently available tests. Do you have any recommended resources? Does it matter if practices change up the tests they use on a regular basis? (Transport media also seems to be a concern)

Assuming this question refers to collection supplies, this link should assist in making these requests. 

https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/information/health-care/requesting-specimen-testing-supplies 

 

If someone tests positive, can the staff person who tested them still come to work, or should they self-isolate for 10 days?

If appropriate PPE were used, the person who collected the specimen would not be considered exposed and would not have to be quarantined.

 

If the health department does not test children and does serve as a medical home, where should families be referred?

You can use the Find My Testing Place tool (link below) to look for sites that accept children.

https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/about-covid-19/testing 

 

Is there a way to expedite tests for kids being held out of school due to exposure?

Specific laboratories have priority policies. Our testing folks have not heard about children out of school falling into this priority group.

 

If a child tests positive and the parent lacks insurance, what is the best way to get a parent tested?

You can use the Find My Testing Place tool (link below) to look for sites for testing the uninsured.

https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/about-covid-19/testing

 

Are there any restrictions on repeat testing?

Medicaid does not currently have a limit that our testing folks are aware of.  Other insurers might; coverage should be verified. 

 

Our area was using a lot of OP swabs deemed less sensitive than the NP swabs, so for instance:

Contact of Covid positive contact told to get tested:

Asymptomatic told to quarantine but watch for symptoms 14 days. They go get tested and told neg results, so they come out of quarantine.  If it was OP swab? what to do?  If mild symptoms? retest, then does 14 days or 10 days…

A negative test before the end of quarantine does not end it, and it should still last for 14 days after the last close contact with a case, 14 days being the longest incubation period for COVID-19.

If a person under quarantine develops symptoms, diagnostic testing would be indicated, and if the result is positive this person should go in isolation for at least 10 days after onset of symptoms, and 3 days (72 hours) of resolution, defined as no fever (in the absence of fever-reducing medication) and improvement of respiratory symptoms. The screening protocol in our school guidance says that students or staff with symptoms (but no known exposure) can return to school if they have a negative test once they have no fever and are feeling better for at least 24 hours. That does not apply to people with a recognized exposure – people in that group should be in quarantine for 14 days after last exposure even if they have a negative test result during that time.  

 

Is there a solution in the works to simplify process for getting reimbursement for testing for uninsured people? Currently so complicated almost everyone reports that staff time costs more than reimbursement, so it is not worth it.

There is currently no solution on this issue other than submitting for reimbursement through the existing HRSA portal.