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Coronavirus Disease 2019

LAC DPH Testing Guidelines & Resources


On September 22, 2020, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced that state-wide laboratory testing capacity and turnaround time for results had improved. As a result, they announced that that until further notice, all four tiers in their Testing Prioritization Guidance have equal priority for testing. LAC DPH updated the priorities for COVID-19 testing to align with state prioritization. See LAC DPH Testing Guidelines below for more information.

Access to Diagnostic Testing Through Healthcare Facilities

All healthcare providers and systems should now be able to provide their patients with timely access to SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic testing when indicated. See Health Officer Order: Access to Diagnostic Testing Through Healthcare Facilities for more information. Organizations that need assistance to identify a suitable laboratory provider are encouraged to view the resources in the laboratories section below.

Laboratory Information

Laboratories Providing Diagnostic Testing

Laboratories Providing COVID-19 PCR Molecular Testing Updated Reference Guide LA County Department of Health Services (LAC DHS) has created this guide to help organizations identify a laboratory provider that best fits their needs. This document provides an overview of some of the laboratories offering testing to LA County providers and residents.

California Testing Task Force Lab List The Testing Task Force is maintaining a list of labs that have met certain criteria for readiness and can receive samples for RT-PCR COVID testing.

Laboratory Registration Requirements

All laboratories (regardless of their location) that test Los Angeles County residents must register with CDPH.

LAC DPH Testing Guidelines

The goals of viral testing are to identify persons actively infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus in order to provide optimal clinical care, prevent and control outbreaks, and decrease spread through case investigation, isolation of cases, and quarantine of exposed contacts.

Diagnostic (viral) testing is strongly recommended for the following individuals:

  • Persons with symptoms of COVID-19
  • Persons who are identified as part of outbreak detection and response or contact investigation as directed by LAC DPH
  • Persons who are close contact to confirmed cases
  • Persons living/working in high-risk congregate settings (e.g. nursing home, shelter, jail)

In addition, testing is supported for other asymptomatic individuals presenting for testing as listed below in Priorities for COVID-19 Testing Tiers 2-4. When making individual testing recommendations, clinicians should consider the patient’s likelihood of COVID-19 (their individual exposure risk and the prevalence of COVID-19 in their setting/workplace), as well as the degree to which the result will change the individual’s management. In addition, clinicians should review the limitations of testing. See Considerations for Testing Asymptomatic Persons for more information.

Diagnostic (viral) testing is not recommended for asymptomatic persons who have recently recovered from laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 within the past 3 months. See Patients who have Recently Recovered from COVID-19 for more information.

Priorities for COVID-19 Testing

If PCR testing resources are insufficient, providers should follow these priorities

Tier 1

  • Hospitalized persons with symptoms of COVID-19
  • Persons who are identified as part of outbreak detection and response or contact investigation as directed by local public health

Tier 2

  • All other individuals with symptoms of COVID-19
  • Persons who are close contacts to confirmed cases
  • Persons who live or work in high risk settings such as congregate care facilities, healthcare, corrections, emergency services, and home care as outlined by CDPH
  • Patients requiring pre-operative/pre-hospital admission screening*
  • Patients being discharged from hospitals to lower levels of care*

Tier 3

  • Workers who have frequent interaction with the public and/or work in an environment where safe distancing is not consistently feasible in the work sectors as outlined by CDPH.

Tier 4

  • Asymptomatic persons who believe they may be currently infected
  • Asymptomatic persons that are part of routine testing program operated by their employer.

* When healthcare facilities elect to conduct pre-admission or pre-procedure screening of patients for COVID-19, it is important to continue to practice COVID-19 infection prevention precautions on patients testing negative due to the risk of false negatives.

Coverage of COVID-19 Testing

Coverage of COVID-19 Testing: FAQs from the Department of Managed Health Care (5-22-20)

Zero Cost Sharing: All commercial and Medi-Cal health plans in California must provide all medically necessary COVID-19 testing and visits with zero cost sharing. All Plan Letter.

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