High-risk and asymptomatic persons can now be tested by State

The Alabama Departmentof Public Health Bureau of Clinical Laboratories has expanded the criteriato test for COVID-19 to add testing for certain asymptomatic, high-riskgroups and individuals.

By widening the conditionsto test high-risk people before symptoms appear, the risk of continuedtransmission of the virus is lessened and timely case investigations andcontact tracing can begin earlier. The Centers for Disease Control andPrevention made these recommendations.
Symptoms of COVID-19consist of either cough or shortness of breath (difficulty breathing) orat least two of the following: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills,muscle pain, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat, and new loss oftaste or smell.
New testing criteriaare as follows:

The patient is a resident (includes symptomatic and asymptomatic) of along-term care facility and the facility has laboratory-confirmed casesin residents or staff, or are
· Hospitalizedpatients with symptoms
· Healthcarefacility workers, workers in congregate living settings, and first responderswith symptoms
· Residentsin long-term care facilities or other congregate living settings, includingcorrectional and detention facilities and shelters, with symptoms
· Personswithout symptoms who have underlying medical conditions or disabilityplacing them at a higher risk of complications, residency in a congregatehousing setting such as a homeless shelter or long-term care facility,or screening of other asymptomatic individuals based on a case-by-casereview and approval by the state health department or local health jurisdiction.
Providers may ordertesting for persons not meeting the above criteria but are asked to usea commercial or clinical laboratory with which they have an agreement.

For more information,visit alabamapublichealth.gov.