Handling Inquiries from Symptomatic Patients
If patient calls concerned that they have symptoms of COVID-19, use the screening questions below to determine the need for testing.
- If patient arrives in your office concerned about symptoms of COVID-19:
- Mask and isolate them in a private room with the door closed AND
- Ensure healthcare personnel entering the room use contact, droplet, AND airborne precautions, INCLUDING eye protection (e.g., goggles or face shield). (Airborne precautions include use of NIOSH-approved fit-tested N95 mask or higher.
- Notify infection control personnel
- Use the screening questions below to determine the need for testing.
|Signs or Symptoms||Risk Factors|
|Fever or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough or shortness of breath)||AND||Any person, including health care workers, who has had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset|
|Fever or signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough or shortness of breath) without alternative explanatory diagnosis (e.g., influenza)*||AND||A history of travel to areas with ongoing community transmission within 14 days of symptom onset|
|Fever with severe acute lower respiratory illness (e.g., pneumonia, ARDS) requiring hospitalization and without alternative explanatory diagnosis (e.g., influenza)||AND||No source of exposure has been identified|
* Please note this guidance varies slightly from CDC. As we have capacity, Colorado will continue to consider testing for individuals who are not hospitalized in order to identify patients who have traveled to affected areas who have less severe disease. Fever can be subjective or confirmed.
If patient meets these criteria, complete the screening form and call Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment (PDPHE) or CDPHE Communicable Disease division.
The lab at CDPHE will be performing two test runs per day for COVID-19: once at 10:00 a.m. and again at 4:00 p.m. Requests and accompanying information must arrive one hour prior to run.
If Public Health has approved testing for COVID-19 collect the sample according to CDPHE guidelines:
- Collect samples as soon as possible after talking with Public Health.
- Collect both a nasopharyngeal (NP) and oropharyngeal (OP) swab in two viral transport media tubes
- For biosafety reasons, it is NOT recommended to perform virus isolation in cell culture or initial characterization of viral agents recovered in cultures of specimens.
- Submit specimen to CDPHE lab via the LabOnline portal.
- CDPHE may request other samples on a case by case basis including lower respiratory specimens for severe illness.
- Acceptable sample types:
- Nasopharyngeal (NP) OR
- Oropharyngeal (OP) swabs in viral transport media
- Do NOT place more than one swab in each collection tube.
Additional samples may be requested by CDPHE on a case-by-case basis (including lower respiratory specimens for patients with more severe illness).
Send Specimens Via Routine Courier
CDPHE prefers that specimens are sent via the regular courier.
- Call 303-815-7220 if on-demand courier service is needed to meet cut-off times
- No cost for COVID-19 testing at this time
- Store samples at 2-8◦ C for up to 72 hours
- Freeze samples after 72 hours
Negative results will come to you directly from the CDPHE lab. Positive results will be sent to the local public health department and public health will notify your office.
Preparing to Receive Patients
- Review the CDC checklist for transport and arrival of patients with confirmed or possible COVID-19
- Check CDPHE and Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment websites to stay up-to-date
- Review your infection prevention and control policies and CDC infection control recommendations for COVID-19 for:
- Assessment and triage of patients with acute respiratory symptoms
- Patient placement, visitor management, and exclusion
- Implementation of Standard, Contact, and Airborne Precautions, including the use of eye protection
- Source control measures for patients (e.g., put face mask on suspect patients)
- Requirements for performing aerosol generating procedures
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Guidance
Healthcare workers with close contact to a person suspected of COVID-19 should use the following precautions with proper donning, use, and doffing:
- Droplet precautions (e.g. gloves, gown), AND
- Airborne precautions, including eye protection (e.g., goggles or face shield). Airborne precautions include use of NIOSH-approved fit-tested N95 mask or higher.
Additional information for healthcare providers about COVID-19 is available on the CDPHE COVID-19 webpage.
Long-Term Care Facilities
- The CDC has issued specific guidance to long-term care facilities for strategies for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- The general strategies the CDC recommends to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities are the same strategies these facilities should use every day to detect and prevent the spread of other respiratory viruses like influenza.
Health care facilities should review their existing emergency preparedness plans and the following CDC
- Resources for Healthcare Facilities
Health care mitigation strategies
- Steps Healthcare Facilities Can Take Now to Prepare for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”
Includes general steps that health care facilities can take now to prepare for COVID-19, including
review of emergency preparedness plans, and processes for communication, protection of the
workforce, and protection of patients
- Interim Guidance for Healthcare Facilities: Preparing for Community Transmission of COVID-19 in
the United States”
Includes strategies for triage, healthcare worker utilization and safety, surge capacity, and considerations for outpatient, inpatient, and long-term care facilities
- Strategies to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities (LTCF)
Includes steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 into and within facilities as well as to prevent inter-facility
- Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of N95 Respirators
Includes conventional capacity, contingency capacity, and crisis alternate strategies
- Checklist for Healthcare Facilities: Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of N95 Respirators during
the COVID-19 Response
Includes strategies or options on how healthcare facilities can optimize supplies of disposable N95 filtering facepiece respirators when there is limited supply availability
- Release of Stockpiled N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators Beyond the Manufacturer-Designated Shelf
Life: Considerations for the COVID-19 Response
Includes information that may be used to inform product release decisions
- Resources for Hospitals and Healthcare Professionals Preparing for Patients with Suspected or
Includes checklists for healthcare providers and hospitals that identify key actions that can be taken now to enhance preparedness for potential or confirmed patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)