What is the best protocol and criteria or policy for COVID-19 novel coronavirus testing?

During early U.S. infections, the criteria have been stringent due to limited test availability. As tests become more accessible, what should be the set of risk factors that direct people to get tested -- versus staying at home without getting tested?

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    you need to finish the question. Commented Mar 21, 2020 at 7:53

1 Answer 1


University of Washington (UW Medicine) suggests Testing Criteria on their site: https://covid-19.uwmedicine.org/Pages/default.aspx

The following patients with COVID-19 symptoms should be tested for COVID-19: • Patients hospitalized with severe lower respiratory illness • Healthcare workers • Patients in other public safety occupations (e.g., law enforcement, fire fighter, EMS) • Patients involved in an illness cluster in a facility or institution (e.g., healthcare, school, corrections, homeless/shelters, other institution/congregate setting) The following patients with COVID-19 symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and be tested for COVID-19 if their symptoms worsen or their healthcare provider recommends testing: • Patients older than 60 years • Patients with underlying medical conditions • Pregnant women Younger, healthy individuals with mild illness do not need to be tested. They should stay home for 7 days or 72 hours after symptom resolution, whichever is longer. Additionally, testing is not recommended in persons who are asymptomatic. A negative test result does not rule out an infection. There are currently no restrictions on who can be tested for COVID-19 and commercial testing is becoming more available. Healthcare providers may test any patient with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath).

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    In China once they had isolated all known contacts they started case discovery with temperature checking at road stops, and all febrile drivers were immediately sent for confirmatory testing. Unfortunately the failure of wide spread testing delayed the discovery of community spread in the USA. Commented Mar 21, 2020 at 7:53

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