State Department of Health releases guidelines for COVID-19 patient testing


BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana Department of Health is now recommending that any patient with fever, respiratory symptoms, and a negative influenza test to be tested for COVID-19.

In a press release, the Department of Health stated that all patients suspected or undergoing testing for COVID-19 should isolate themselves at home until they receive the test results unless the results are positive. Then the patient should stay isolated at home until cleared by their physician or public health official.

Continue reading for the full press release.

Baton Rouge, La. (March 13, 2020) — Today, the Department of Health shared guidance with providers that recommends COVID-19 testing for any patient with fever, respiratory symptoms and a negative influenza test.

All patients suspected (and undergoing testing) for COVID-19 should remain hospitalized if needed or isolate at home until they receive their test results. If test results are positive, patients should continue to be isolated until cleared by a physician or public health official.

Providers should use commercial labs for any specimens collected with the exception of high priority patients. The state public health lab will continue to test samples of high priority patients who meet the following criteria: Hospitalized patients with a severe respiratory illness with no other known causeSuspected outbreak of COVID-19 among associated individuals with recent onset of similar fever and lower respiratory symptoms.Recent fever and lower respiratory symptoms in a healthcare worker with direct contact to a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case.Suspected COVID-19 in a patient associated with a high-risk exposure setting such as a long-term care facility or a correctional facility.For initial diagnostic testing for COVID-19, the State of Louisiana now recommends collecting and testing a single nasopharyngeal (NP) swab, or a nose swab.

Click here for the health alert message shared with providers. 

About the Louisiana Department of Health 
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state residents. The Louisiana Department of Health includes the Office of Public Health, Office of Aging & Adult Services, Office of Behavioral Health, Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, and Healthy Louisiana (Medicaid). To learn more, visit or follow us on TwitterFacebook or our blog.

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