Lehigh Valley, Pa.,
13:09 PM

LVHN’s Coronavirus Testing Criteria Updated

Effective immediately, Lehigh Valley Health Network’s (LVHN) criteria for testing individuals suspected of having coronavirus (COVID-19) have been updated. The new criteria have been implemented at all Assess and Test Centers throughout the LVHN network.

Under the new criteria, only symptomatic persons ages 65 and over, symptomatic persons at a higher risk of complications and other defined symptomatic at-risk persons will be tested for COVID-19.

The new testing criteria was recommended in light of continued regional and national shortages of COVID-19 test kits and other testing supplies. These recommendations reflect the current state of COVID-19 spread in our respective markets and are based on evolving data, observations and availability of testing supplies.

Symptomatic persons at a higher risk of complications include those with chronic lung disease and asthma, significant heart disease, immunosuppression, diabetes, morbid obesity, chronic kidney disease and chronic liver disease.

The following at-risk persons exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 infection will continue to be tested:

  • All hospitalized patients with symptoms suggestive of possible COVID-19 infection

  • Symptomatic health care workers

  • Symptomatic patients living in long-term care facilities

  • Symptomatic patients with higher risk of complications from COVID-19

  • Symptomatic pregnant women

  • Symptomatic first responders (for example, EMTs, firefighters, police, etc.)

  • Symptomatic household members of patients at high risk for complications of COVID-19 (only for first family member displaying symptoms; other symptomatic family members will be presumed to have COVID-19 if index patient positive).

Testing of individuals exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 infection and living with someone with a confirmed or presumptive diagnosis of COVID-19 is no longer recommended. These patients can be presumed to have COVID-19 and should be encouraged to follow the same recommendations for infected individuals.

Otherwise healthy individuals who have classic symptoms of COVID-19 infection and who are not considered high-risk based on the testing criteria will no longer be tested. They are encouraged to self-isolate from others at home, get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids and take fever-reducing medication.

COVID-19 screening options continue to be available to persons exhibiting signs of the infection. These options include accessing LVHN e-visits at LVHN.org/evisit, calling the LVHN nurse information line at 888-402-LVHN or scheduling an LVHN virtual screening at LVHN.org/videoscreening. A medical professional will conduct an evaluation, and, if applicable, will provide a presumptive diagnosis of COVID-19. They will also provide instruction on self-care.

Health care providers advise seeking emergency care immediately if symptoms are getting progressively worse, you’re experiencing significant shortness of breath, have chest pain, and can’t seem to function in daily activities as you have been. In case of emergency dial 911. Indicate to the dispatcher that you have COVID-19, and, if possible, wear a mask when emergency personnel enter your house to avoid the spread of infection.

If your condition is deemed not life-threatening, there is no need to go to the emergency room (ER) or call 911. Continue to follow the self-care instructions provided by your health care provider.

Asymptomatic patients will not be tested at any LVHN Assess and Test centers. Current tests are only capable of making the diagnosis of active COVID-19. The test does not confirm or rule out a significant exposure.

For more information on COVID-19, visit LVHN.org/covid19.

About LVHN

Lehigh Valley Health Network includes eight hospital campuses, three in Allentown, one in Bethlehem, one in East Stroudsburg, one in Hazleton and two in Pottsville, Pa.; Coordinated Health, which includes two hospital campuses, nearly two dozen multispecialty locations including ambulatory surgery centers and orthopedic injury centers in northeastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey; 26 health centers; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices; 22 ExpressCARE including the area’s only Children’s ExpressCARE; pharmacy, imaging, home health, rehabilitation, and lab services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred. Specialty care includes trauma care for adults and children, burn care at the Regional Burn Center, kidney and pancreas transplants; perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer, orthopedics, neurology, complex neurosurgery capabilities including national certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, and robotic surgery in 10 specialties. Lehigh Valley Cancer InstituteLehigh Valley Heart Institute, and Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence physicians provide the most advanced treatments. The Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute is a member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance, an initiative that helps community providers improve the quality of cancer care and offers access to MSK clinical trials. Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital, the community’s only children’s hospital, provides care in more than 30 specialties and general pediatrics. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest is the region’s only hospital nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report for orthopedics and has been recognized among Pennsylvania’s top five hospitals for six consecutive years. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest, Lehigh Valley Hospital–17th Street and Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg are the region’s only Magnet® hospitals for nursing excellence. Additional information is available by visiting LVHN.org, or following us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.