Updated NYC Health Department Recommendations for Identifying and Testing Patients with Suspected COVID-19

May 19, 2020

This article is superseded by the October 16 bulletin DOHMH Updates COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing Guidance.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) released updated guidance for testing individuals for COVID-19. The guidance expands the list of individuals to be tested to include:

  • Symptomatic individuals
  • People who had close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19
  • People who work in a congregate residential setting (new)

The expanded list of individuals for testing aligns with Executive Order (EO) 202.30, which requires all nursing home and adult care facilities (both of which are congregate residential settings) to test all personnel for COVID-19 twice a week and report any positive result to the New York State Department of Health. (More information on EO 202.30 is available in ML-80.)

DOHMH also has updated the list of signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19 to include less-common symptoms such as gastrointestinal symptoms and a newly described multisystem inflammatory syndrome called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children that may be related to COVID-19.

The guidance also clarifies that tests for diagnostic purposes should be limited to nucleic acid amplification tests like reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and antigen tests authorized by the Food and Drug Administration via the emergency use authorization.