UMC asks people without exposure, symptoms to hold off on COVID-19 testing

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FILE – In this Friday, June 12, 2020 file photo, a nurse uses a swab to perform a coronavirus test in Salt Lake City. Months into the outbreak, no one really knows how well many of the screening tests work, and experts at top medical centers say it is time to do the studies to find out. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As more people in the Las Vegas valley get tested for COVID-19, University Medical Center is asking that people who haven’t been exposed or don’t have symptoms to wait for testing.

According to a UMC news release, this is an effort to ensure the patients with the highest risk have convenient access to testing.

“UMC asks community members to help the hospital prioritize the testing needs of symptomatic patients and those who have been exposed to confirmed positive patients.”

UMC

The hospital said by prioritizing it will help reduce unnecessary repeat testing. UMC is referring to people who are testing positive and then getting another test to see if it has the same result or if they can discontinue isolation.

“As a result of this guidance, UMC will no longer provide unnecessary follow-up tests after a positive result. If an employer requires a negative test prior to an employee returning to work, the employer should make arrangements to provide testing services for employees.”

UMC

The CDC recommends that a person who is symptomatic and tests positive should only end isolation if the following is achieved:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
  • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications
  • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved

It’s advised asymptomatic patients may discontinue isolation 10 days after being tested, as long as they continue to have no symptoms. Patients with weakened immune systems may need more time in isolation. Those patients should seek the advice of their doctor.

Also, UMC said a person with a negative test result must wait at least 10 days before receiving another test. However, if that person develops symptoms during that time, they should advise their doctor to see if repeat testing is needed.

UMC has introduced a five-day waiting period for asymptomatic health care workers and first responders following negative test results, unless they develop symptoms of COVID-19 during the waiting period.

Exposure is defined as spending 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of someone with an active COVID-19 infection, regardless of whether the people involved wore face coverings during the encounter. Community members should schedule their testing appointments five to seven days after being exposed to the virus. Testing prior to this time period may result in false negative results.

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