LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — University Medical Center is urging the community to save available public COVID-19 testing appointments for patients experiencing symptoms and those who have been exposed. The hospital cites a significant increase in demand at its campus and Clark County’s testing sites.
UMC reminds the public that exposure is when you spend 15 minutes or more within six feet of someone with an active coronavirus infection, regardless of whether masks are worn by either party.
If you have been exposed, the hospital says you should make an appointment for five to seven days after exposure to get tested. Any tests before this could result in a false negative.
In terms of repeat testing, UMC notes in a press release:
“UMC continues to follow CDC guidance for repeat testing. Repeat testing following an initial positive result has not shown to be an effective tool in determining when patients can safely discontinue isolation. As a result of this guidance, UMC will not provide unnecessary follow-up tests after a positive result.”
Isolated patients are urged to follow CDC guidelines for discontinuing isolation, including:
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, and
- At least 24 hours have passed since last fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and
- Symptoms like cough, shortness of breath have improved
If an individual is asymptomatic, UMC says they may discontinue isolation 10 days after testing. This is only if they continue to not have symptoms.
Immunocompromised patients may need to isolate longer and are asked to consult with their healthcare provider.
To combat unnecessary testing, UMC also says:
- Patients with negative test results must wait 10 days before receiving another test
- If an individual develops symptoms during the waiting period, they should seek medical care at a physician’s office to determine the need for repeat testing
- Patients who believe they’ve been exposed must continue isolation during the waiting period
According to the news release, the hospital has a five-day waiting period for asymptomatic healthcare workers and first responders after they’ve received a negative test result. This does not apply if they begin to experience symptoms during that period.