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Important COVID-19 Testing Resources for People and Providers

Important COVID-19 Testing Resources for People and Providers
Amanda Bartling (left) and Sarah Trotter simulate how they process specimens to test for presence of COVID-19

LINCOLN – Public health officials, health care providers, and laboratories are working daily to increase Nebraska’s capacity to test more people for COVID-19.

Currently, testing supplies are limited. Local, state, and federal partners are working to expand testing supplies and the ability to promptly test people experiencing symptoms.

Due to testing limitations, health care providers and local health departments are screening people to prioritize testing for those who based on symptoms and exposure history have the highest likelihood of having COVID-19 including:

  • Hospitalized patients who have signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19.
  • Symptomatic patients with a high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 such as older adults and individuals with underlying health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and lung disease.
  • People including healthcare workers who within 14 days of symptom onset had close contact with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patient.
  • People who have a history of travel from affected geographic areas (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices#alert) within 14 days of their symptom onset.
  • Other factors, which can guide COVID-19 testing decisions like COVID-19 infections in a certain area especially where community transmission has been reported.

People who are concerned they may have COVID-19 should self-isolate and call ahead to their primary care provider to be screened over the phone. The provider can evaluate and determine if testing is necessary. Flu activity is also still high in Nebraska. Flu tests should be considered as a first test option before considering a COVID-19 test. “We believe that these resources will be most valuable to our public and the medical providers that are diligently treating sick patients and assessing others who may have had exposure,” said Dr. Gary Anthone, Director of Public Health and Chief Medical Officer for DHHS.

Providers with the resources to evaluate and test patients for COVID-19 virus, and who would like to be added to our DHHS testing availability list should email alexis.trout@nebraska.gov with your complete contact information.

As we are able to test more people, we’ll provide additional information on where Nebraskans can receive testing on the healthcare network list at www.dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus.

DHHS will continue to update Nebraskans through the DHHS website and on Facebook and Twitter as we have new information. The CDC’s website is also a good resource for COVID-19 information – https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.

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