COVID-19 Online Testing Request

Dear Provider,

The Georgia Department of Public Health is pleased to announce a new online testing request system to streamline COVID-19 testing.

If you are evaluating a patient who meets one or more of the following criteria please submit a testing request though the online system:

  • Hospitalized patients
  • Any person with symptoms
  • The following people without symptoms may be tested as capacity allows. Asymptomatic persons must be tested using a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab (see specimen collection details below):
    • Healthcare workers, first responders, and other critical infrastructure workers that have been exposed to COVID-19
    • Residents of a long-term care facility or other group residential setting experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19

You must be able to collect the specimen at your facility and send to the public health laboratory. You will need to submit your PUI testing request at https://sendss.state.ga.us/survey/form/12698

If your patient meets the criteria above, but you cannot collect the sample yourself, please consider referring the patient to a Specimen Point of Collection site (SPOCs). The form for this can be found at https://dhpexternal.dph.ga.gov/spoc.html

You will NOT be able to return to the survey to make changes, so please complete it in one session. Be sure to complete the form as best you can. If you need to change information in the survey you submitted, please contact us at contactpublichealth@dph.ga.gov.

Please note: the confirmation you receive after submitting the PUI testing request is not an approval for testing. Once you complete the survey please collect the required specimens and store in your facility. A Medical Epidemiologist will review your paperwork between 8am and 8pm each day, and you will receive a separate email with a testing decision. IF TESTING IS APPROVED, YOU WILL BE NOTIFIED VIA A SECOND EMAIL and you will receive information with laboratory forms and shipping instructions. Do not ship samples without prior approval from DPH, this will significantly delay testing if later approved. 

TESTING FOR PATIENTS WHO DO NOT MEET DPH CRITERIA ABOVE, OR IF PUBLIC HEALTH TESTING CAPACITY DOES NOT ALLOW TESTING AT THIS TIME should be performed through a commercial laboratory. Various commercial laboratories are now performing testing, including LabCorp, Quest, ARUP, and many more; please call them or see their website for details on specimen submission. Public Health will not triage calls about these patients.

Specimen Collection and Storage for GPHL and Commercial Laboratories  

A nasopharyngeal (NP) swab is the preferred sample type for symptomatic patients and is the only type acceptable for asymptomatic patients. However, if you are unable to collect a NP, a nasal (NS) swab OR oropharyngeal (OP) swab is also acceptable for symptomatic patients only. A NS is only appropriate for symptomatic patients and both nares should be swabbed with a single swab. Use only synthetic fiber swabs with plastic shafts. Do not use calcium alginate swabs or swabs with wooden shafts, as these may cause testing errors. Place swab immediately into a sterile tube containing 2-3 ml of viral transport media (preferred). Amies transport medium or sterile saline may be used if VTM is unavailable. Store swab promptly after collection at 2-8° Celsius for no more than 72 hours prior to transporting. Guidance for safe sample collection of both NP or NS: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/lab/guidelines-clinical-specimens.html 

Patient Care 

Discharge 

If your patient is healthy enough to be discharged, they must go home and self-isolate in their home to prevent the spread of disease until we have results. Share the following guidance with the patient and caregiver: DPH guidance for people with or exposed to COVID-19: https://dph.georgia.gov/document/document/home-isolation-and-monitoring-procedures/download

In-patient 

If your patient is sick enough to be admitted please follow CDCs healthcare guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/infection-control/control-recommendations.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fhcp%2Finfection-control.html. If possible, keep the patient in a negative pressure room, if this is unavailable, a private room with its own bathroom is recommended. Providers should use standard, contact, and droplet precautions with eye protection (e.g., goggles or a disposable face shield that covers the front and sides of the face).  

Please contact 1-866-PUB-HLTH or contactpublichealth@dph.ga.gov if you have any questions. 

Sincerely, 
The DPH COVID-19 Response Team