Testing for the novel coronavirus: Information for health care providers

In Community Health by admin

Created by the Sedgwick County Health Department for the MSSC

Patients requesting testing for the novel coronavirus can be screened by health care providers or the Sedgwick County Health Department (SCHD). Please do not direct patients to emergency departments.

Health care providers can screen patients and collect samples for COVID-19, or providers can have patients call the new Sedgwick County Health Department COVID-19 Testing Triage Line at (316) 660-7425.

  • If patients call the SCHD Testing Triage Line and they meet the criteria for testing, SCHD will make an appointment with the patient. The appointment will be at the SCHD clinic at 2716 West Central, Wichita. At the appointment, an SCHD provider will collect the specimen and send for testing starting Thursday, March 19. Patients must call the Testing Triage Line and schedule an appointment before coming to the SCHD clinic.
  • Alternatively, providers can collect patient specimens and send for testing to LabCorp or Quest.
    • If cost is an issue, providers can call the KDHE Epidemiology Hotline (1-877-427-7317) for approval for testing at KDHE (must meet criteria for Person Under Investigation).
    • Do not direct patients to emergency departments for testing.

Questions the SCHD COVID-19 Testing Triage Line staff will ask if a patient requests COVID-19 testing:

  1. Have you had close contact with a person who has been tested and is laboratory-test positive for COVID-19?

If yes:

  1. What date was the last close contact (droplet contact or within 6 feet for 10 minutes or more)?
  2. What is the name of the person who is laboratory-test positive and what state do they live in?
  1. Have you traveled outside of Sedgwick County in the past 14 days?
  2. We are really concerned about people with severe symptoms.
    • Do you have a measured fever (99.6F or higher)?
    • Do you have a cough or have experienced a recent decrease in the ability to breathe?
    • For this illness:
      • Have you seen a health care provider? (Date, name of health care provider)
      • Have you been diagnosed with flu or other respiratory viruses?

Current criteria for evaluating patients for COVID-19:

  1. Fever or cough or shortness of breath AND close contact of a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 positive person within 14 days.
  2. Fever AND cough or shortness of breath.

Collecting patient specimens:

  1. Put on PPE when working with patients suspected of having COVID-19.
    • Health care workers should wear face shields or goggles, N95 mask (fit tested), gown, and gloves. If N95 masks are in short supply, a facemask can be worn if not performing medical procedures that will create an aerosol (e.g., intubation, suctioning).
  2. See: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/respirator-use-faq.html
  3. Follow the laboratory’s instructions for specimen collection.
    • Specimen is a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab placed in Viral Transport Media (VTM). The VTM vial is placed in a biohazard bag, stored at 2-8C, and shipped on ice packs as a Category B infectious substance.
    • A video on nasopharyngeal (NP) and oropharyngeal (OP) specimen collection and other information is found on the KDHE Coronavirus Resource Center website at http://www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus/.

Contacting SCHD:

Health care providers with any questions can call the SCHD Epidemiology Hotline at (316) 660-5555 (press 1) or email diseasereport@sedgwick.gov.

  • The public with general questions can call 2-1-1 (United Way Helpline) or email COVID19@sedgwickcounty.gov.
  • To be screened for testing, call the SCHD Testing Triage Line at (316) 660-7425.

Beginning March 20, local screening and testing information will be available on the Sedgwick County COVID-19 website at sedgwickcounty.org.