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 either remain hospitalized or continue to be isolated for seven or more days from the onset of illness, or three or more days after resolution of fever, whichever is longer AND resolution or improvement in respiratory symptoms.

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 cause.
  • Suspected 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.
  • Suspected COVID-19 in a homeless patient.

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.