Beaufort County Resources
COVID-19 Provider Guidance
May 7th, 2020
In March, the Health Department released guidance regarding COVID-19 testing. The guidance at that time was influenced by short supplies of tests kits and PPE for collecting tests safely. Our strategy was to use the Influenza-like Illness (ILI) sentinel surveillance system to monitor the outbreak. Below I have the most recent graphs showing ILI information though it has been relabeled COVID-like Illness. During that time and to the present, we were asking you all to assume the mild case was COVID-19 and to advise the patient as such, and not test unless you felt the results changed medical management of the patient.
As North Carolina positions to re-open, the Beaufort County Health Department and our medical liaisons are asking you to slightly shift to a less stringent testing criteria so that we can identify early on those that are positive in an effort to provide mitigation in our community through contact and tracing. We would like you to begin testing all those you suspect of having COVID-19. Close contacts of a positive case may also be tested. Most of your practices already have procedures in place on how to test the patient. We are working with the practices to manage the data collection and the identification of cases and their contacts.
The Health Department's goal is to monitor the number of all tests conducted (positive and negative) to be able to determine the percentage of confirmed positive cases in the county. A second goal is to enhance early identification and contact tracing to help with mitigation of outbreaks, as well as to ease some of the public concerns in the county and help businesses/organizations re-open operations.
The Health Department will still collect COVID-19 tests for your practice if it is not able to do so. Please call ahead at 252-946-1902 so that we can arrange the test with your patient.
To help us with our goals, we have simplified the documentation and changed the process to send us the forms. Starting Monday, May 11, 2020, please fill out the signature and guidance sheet (PDF) and the investigation report (PDF) on every patient you test for COVID-19 and send to us. Instead of faxing the forms, we would like you to send through secure email to Christine Womble. If your practice is not able to use the secure email established, please utilize the method established by us with your business operations. We can be reached by phone at 252-946-1902 to help establish a process if one has not already been generated.
Likewise, we ask for you to send us the lab results when they come in (negatives as well as the positives). This notification of the results can be through the secure email provided or through another method worked out with the health department. We need this information to accurately follow the percentage of positive tests without trying to adjust for pending results status.
Also, please give the patient the Managing Symptoms at Home (English (PDF)) or (Spanish (PDF)) handout and a Contact Form (English (PDF)) or (Spanish (PDF)) for them to fill out while they wait for the results.
James A. Madson, RN, MPH
Beaufort County Health Department.