Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The information provided below is current as of March 13, 2020.

 

Under the guidance of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Sonic Healthcare USA (SHUSA) laboratories are closely monitoring the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak caused by SARS-CoV-2. Our priority is the health and safety of our employees, patients and the communities we serve. We encourage you to periodically check this webpage for updates.

 

WestPac is honored to launch testing for COVID-19 as of March 10th, 2020. This test is to be performed only using respiratory specimens collected from individuals who meet CDC clinical and/or epidemiological criteria for COVID-19 testing. WestPac Patient Service Centers and phlebotomy sites cannot collect specimens for this test.

 

Patients, please do not go to an WestPac Patient Service Center for COVID-19 testing as these sites do not collect specimens for the COVID-19 test. Contact your healthcare provider for information about collection options.

 

Providers should not refer any patients suspected (persons under investigation) or confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 to a WestPac Patient Service Center or other phlebotomy sites.

WestPac will continue to provide test services for patients suspected (persons of interest) specimens collected in appropriate healthcare settings, such as physician offices and hospitals.

 

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Health Plan Information


Imported cases have been identified in the U.S. According to the CDC:

 

  • Some international destinations now have apparent community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19, as do some parts of the United States. Community spread means some people have been infected and it is not known how or where they became exposed.   
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • No vaccine or specific treatment for COVID-19 is currently available. 

 

Interim Guidance from the CDC for Healthcare Providers:

 

  • Infection control procedures are necessary to prevent infections from spreading during healthcare delivery. COVID-19 Infection Control recommendations provided by the CDC may be accessed at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/infection-control.html
  • For initial diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2, CDC recommends collecting and testing upper respiratory tract specimens (nasopharyngeal AND oropharyngeal swabs). 
  • In considering whether a patient represents a person under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19, healthcare providers should immediately notify infection control personnel at their healthcare facility and their local or state health department. Use links below:
  • Laboratory testing for other pathogens from PUIs (including testing for influenza, RSV, respiratory pathogen panel, etc.) should not be delayed. In order to provide adequate infection control, please notify WestPac Labs in advance of sending specimens from a PUI for COVID-19. A separate specimen(s) will be required.

 

Criteria to Guide Evaluation of Patients Under Investigation (PUI) for COVID-19

  • As the availability of diagnostic testing for COVID-19 increases through clinical laboratories performing molecular diagnostic (nucleic acid-amplification tests) tests authorized by the US FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), testing will be offered to a wider group of symptomatic patients. 
  • Clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested. Decisions on which patients receive testing should be based on the local epidemiology of COVID-19, as well as the clinical course of illness. Most patients with confirmed COVID-19 have developed a fever and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing). Clinicians are strongly encouraged to test for other causes of respiratory illness, including infections such as influenza.
  • Epidemiologic factors that may help guide decisions on whether to test include: any persons, including healthcare workers, who have had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset, or a history of travel from a geographic area with the ongoing transmission (see list above) within 14 days of symptom onset.
  • State and local health authorities may assist or guide clinicians in PUI identification, evaluation, and testing.  
  • Clinicians will also be able to access laboratory testing through public health laboratories in their jurisdictions.

   

For additional information, please use links given below:

 

The COVID-19 outbreak is rapidly evolving, and we will continue to monitor the situation and update you as new information becomes available.

The information provided below is current as of February 27, 2020.

 

Under the guidance of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Sonic Healthcare USA (SHUSA) laboratories are closely monitoring the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak caused by SARS-CoV-2 (previously known as 2019-nCoV). To date, over 80,000 human infections have been confirmed.  More than 2,500 patients have died.

 

Affected Geographic Areas with Widespread or Sustained Community Transmission:

 

  • China
  • Iran

  • Italy

  • Japan

  • South Korea

 

Imported cases have been identified in the U.S. according to the CDC:

 

  • The person-to-person spread of COVID-19 has been seen among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan.  As of 2/26/2020, the CDC has confirmed infection with the virus in one patient in California who reportedly did not have relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient with COVID-19.

  • No vaccine or specific treatment for COVID-19 is currently available.

  • Care is supportive.

 

Interim Guidance from the CDC for Healthcare Providers:

 

  • Infection control procedures are necessary to prevent infections from spreading during healthcare delivery. COVID-19 Infection Control recommendations provided by the CDC may be accessed on their website.

  • For patients being evaluated with fever and acute respiratory illness, a detailed travel history is essential. The Criteria to Guide Evaluation of Patients Under Investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 are provided in the chart below. This information may also be accessed on the CDC's website.
  • In the event of a PUI for COVID-19, healthcare providers should immediately notify both infection control personnel at their healthcare facility and their local or state health department of the CDC (770-488-7100). Coordination with state/local health departments is required to initiate COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 testing.
  • In coordination with local or state health departments, the CDC’s Emergency Operations Center (770-488-7100) will assist local/state health departments to collect, store, and ship specimens appropriately to the CDC, including during after hours or on weekends/holidays.
  • While COVID-19 testing can currently only be conducted at the CDC and/or local public laboratories, laboratory testing for other pathogens from PUIs (including testing for influenza, RSV, etc.) should not be delayed. In order to provide adequate infection control, please notify us in advance of sending specimens from patients under investigation for COVID-19.

 

Criteria to Guide Evaluation of Patients Under Investigation (PUI) for COVID-19

 

Clinical Features&

Epidemiological Risk

Fever or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing)

 

AND

Any person, including healthcare workers, who have had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset

Fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing)

 

AND

A history of travel from affected geographic areas (see above) within 14 days of symptom onset

Fever with severe lower respiratory illness (e.g., pneumonia, ARDS) requiring hospitalization without an alternative explanatory diagnosis (e.g., influenza)

 

 

AND

 

 

No source of exposure has been identified

   
For additional information, please visit CDC's page.

 

The COVID-19 outbreak is rapidly evolving, and we will continue to monitor the situation and update you as new information becomes available.

Dear Valued Client,

 

Westpac Labs would like to provide you information regarding laboratory testing if you encounter suspected cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), originating in Wuhan, China. On January 21st, the first case of 2019-nCoV pneumonia was documented in the United States in a 30-year-old male returning from Wuhan, China to Seattle, Washington.

 

Currently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control requires that all testing for 2019-nCoV be routed to the CDC via local/state public health departments. The CDC will only test individuals for 2019-nCoV if they meet the criteria for “Patient Under Investigation” (PUI). The definition of a PUI is: Fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness along with travel in the past 14 days to Wuhan, China, or fever/symptoms and close contact with a patient under investigation for, or with laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection. 

 

If your patient meets the criteria for a PUI, please contact your local county public health department, which will give guidance and dispatch a courier for testing diagnostic specimens at the CDC. The CDC requires 3 specimen types for each PUI: 1- a lower respiratory tract specimen (2-3 ml of sputum, bronchoalveolar lavage or tracheal aspirate), 2- upper respiratory tract specimens (nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs in viral transport media), and 3- serum (5-10 ml in serum separator tube). These specimens should be refrigerated at 2-8 degrees Celsius.

 

If your patient does not meet the criteria for a PUI, please call Westpac Labs for pickup of specimens for routine diagnostic testing.

 

2019-nCoV is thought to be a novel member of the coronavirus family of single-stranded RNA viruses. Coronaviruses are etiologic agents of the common cold. However, novel genetic variants in recent years have caused outbreaks of severe acute lower respiratory tract illnesses such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in 2003 and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) in 2012. Human to human transmission is thought to be via aerosolization. Our understanding of the current 2019-nCoV is evolving daily. 

 

For additional information on 2019-nCov, we would encourage review of the CDC website at: