Skip to main content

The criteria Minnesota doctors look for before testing for coronavirus

Health care providers follow specific criteria set by the CDC.
doctor

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz made it clear Monday that now is "a time for preparation, not panic" as concerns of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak rise.

"The State of Minnesota is taking coronavirus seriously, and I receive daily briefings to monitor developments with this outbreak. While we are thankful that Minnesota has not had a case of novel coronavirus to this point, we are preparing for that possibility," said Walz. 

Right now, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has two testing kits. Each kit can test 400 people, with the MDH telling BMTN that it can test about 100 people per day. They can order more kits on an "as needed" basis.  

“The CDC continues to be a really importance source for us in guidance on who to test, what particular clinical symptoms really justify a test at this point, because we have to be a little careful about making sure that those tests are used on the cases that have the most probability of detecting this," said MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm. 

What are health care providers looking for to validate conducting a test?

  • Respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath)
  • Travel history
  • Close contact with anyone with COVID-19
  • Severe respiratory symptoms that require hospitalization. 

Not everyone with those symptoms will be tested for the virus. 

"If a health care provider has a patient that they are considering for testing either because of epidemiological reasons or because of very severe illness, they are asked to call MDH to consult with them and get guidance on testing," said Andrea Ahneman, communications specialist for the MDH Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control Division. 

"While we are following CDC guidance, we do consider each situation and have some latitude to consider testing if it falls outside of regular guidance. Those decisions would be made on a case-by-case basis."

Here's a visual of precisely what the CDC's testing criteria features: 

The new coronavirus is known to produce mild to severe fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, headache, sore throat and sometimes diarrhea. 

The MDH notes that symptoms are similar to other illnesses going around, including influenza, so experiencing the aforementioned symptoms does not mean you need to be tested for coronavirus. 

The best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands with soap and water, stay home when you're sick and cover your cough and sneeze.

There have been six deaths confirmed in the U.S. from the coronavirus. The numbers pale in comparison to the approximately 89,000 cases and more than 3,000 deaths worldwide, the vast majority of which have occurred where the virus began in central China. But the outbreak in America is just beginning. 

The MDH tells Bring Me The News that it will not charge for coronavirus lab tests, but they are not sure if individual health care providers will charge.

Next Up

police lights

Carjacking reported in Woodbury; attempted carjacking in Edina

In both instances, women were exiting their vehicles when the suspects approached.

E.J. Stephens

Michigan State denies Gophers' upset bid

Joey Hauser's last-second lay-up handed Minnesota its fourth straight loss.

unsplash online learning child student

Minneapolis schools go to online learning for 2 weeks amid staff shortage

The online learning period starts Friday and will run for two weeks.

pexels bar face mask covid

Vaccinated can spread omicron, so why are Twin Cities requiring diners show vax proof?

Starting next week, indoor diners in the Twin Cities will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test.

Daycare child care

MN child care providers will no longer need to quarantine kids, staff exposed to COVID

The state has loosened the rule that previously required exposed staff and children to quarantine.

Jim Kaat

Twins to retire Jim Kaat's No. 36 jersey

Kaat is the 10th player in franchise history to have his number retired.

Screen Shot 2022-01-12 at 1.41.10 PM

Minnesota firefighter dies from COVID just days after his father

The 42-year-old leaves behind his wife and their 10 children.

Chet Holmgren

Chet Holmgren announces partnership with Topps

The Minneapolis native is the latest to capitalize on NIL deals.

Related

Jan Malcolm, Minnesota Department of Health

3rd case of coronavirus confirmed in MN, patient in critical condition

A person in their 30s contracted the virus, health officials say.

Minnesota schools preparing for 'likely' coronavirus outbreak

"This might be bad," said a CDC official of the coronavirus outbreak reaching the U.S.

school, classroom, students

Coronavirus: 3 paths for students, teachers who develop symptoms

The guidance is available for all Minnesota families.

coronavirus

Coronavirus tests in Minnesota come back negative

Good news for two patients who had been kept in isolation.

laboratory-2815641_1280

Coronavirus: Lack of testing capacity still causing concern in MN

Gov. Tim Walz sent a letter to Vice President Pence calling for additional tests.

doctor, surgery, masks

Coronavirus: America's hospitals are running out of protective equipment

The CDC is even suggesting medical staff could use scarves to protect themselves as a last resort.

Doctor lab test

MN's coronavirus patient had little contact with others before diagnosis

Health officials are hopeful there is no transmission of the virus.