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Northern Arizona Healthcare develops testing tiers for COVID-19 collection sites

“We are adjusting which tiers we are collecting samples for based on whether collection kit supplies are available,” 
- Chief Quality Officer John Mougin

“We are adjusting which tiers we are collecting samples for based on whether collection kit supplies are available,” - Chief Quality Officer John Mougin

COTTONWOOD — Northern Arizona Healthcare continues to collect COVID-19 specimens from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays at Verde Valley Medical Center, 269 S. Candy Lane in Cottonwood.

Northern Arizona Healthcare’s COVID-19 Steering Committee has developed a four-tiered testing protocol based on guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chief Quality Officer John Mougin stated in an NAH news release.

“We are adjusting which tiers we are collecting samples for based on whether collection kit supplies are available,” Mougin said.

Northern Arizona Healthcare facilities are currently testing patients in tiers 1-3. “We are not testing asymptomatic patients currently,” Mougin said during NAH’s April 16 media briefing. “We’re trying to focus on people with increased risk factors that are symptomatic.”

The following is a breakdown of Northern Arizona Healthcare’s four-tiered COVID-129 testing guidelines:

Tier 1: Critically ill patients

• Critically ill patients receiving critical-care level services with unexplained viral pneumonia or respiratory failure, regardless of travel history or close contact with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients.

• Residents of a long-term care facility with fever or signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory tract illness regardless of need for hospitalization.

Tier 2: Hospitalized patients suspected of having COVID-19

• Patients requiring non-critical care hospitalization with unexplained viral pneumonia or respiratory failure;

• People critical to the pandemic response, including healthcare workers with direct patient care responsibilities, with fever or signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory tract illness.

Tier 3: Not hospitalized but displaying symptoms and at higher risk

• Patients in outpatient settings, such as clinics, Immediate Care, drive-up collection sites or the emergency department, who have fever or signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory tract illness and co-morbid conditions, such as diabetes, COPD, congestive heart failure, older than 50, immunocompromised hosts, among others, but not requiring hospitalization;

• Pregnant women who have fever or signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory tract illness, not requiring hospitalization;

• People younger than 18 with risk factors for complications, such as immunosuppression, chronic heart and lung disease, etc. who have fever or signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory tract illness, and do not requiring hospitalization;

• Healthcare workers without direct patient care responsibilities, with fever or signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory tract illness;

• Patients who live or work in congregate settings: jails, daycare, homeless shelter, dorms or other high risk settings.

Tier 4: Lower risk and community surveillance

• Patients (adults and children) in outpatient settings who have fever or signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory tract illness testing without comorbidities, and not requiring hospitalization;

• Community surveillance as directed by public health and/or infectious diseases authorities.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @AZShutterbug42

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