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Covid-19 Testing Criteria


Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

Hi All! I am a stepdown nurse and was sent to the “tent” today (literally a tent where we are stopping people to screen for covid19 before they can go to ER). My job was to ask every patient coming to ER if they had fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Those who answered yes to any question went to the tent (6 ft away from each other with masks) to be seen by a doctor and swabbed as needed. Non acute patients sent home to self quarantine. Acute patients sent to ER with masks to wait for results and determine need to be admitted. Per cdc guidelines only symptomatic patients were being swabbed, no taking into account chronic illnesses/risk factors. I am in CA Bay Area and we have a shortage of test kits so we can’t test everyone.

My question: one young woman came in for an abscess on her arm. No fever, shortness of breath or sick contacts. When I asked about cough she said “I always have a cough because I have asthma”. I asked if any new/current cough and she said no. She was not coughing in the tent at all. I sent her in to regular ER since screen was negative but still gave her a mask, even though masks are only for pts who screened positive. My gut feeling was she should be swabbed since she has asthma and “always has a cough”. I checked with ER charge RN and he said I did the right thing, but I am worried! Any thoughts? Thanks!