Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak Update #8

NH DPHS Health AlertsOn March 16, 2020, NH DHHS issued health alert update #8 regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

Key Points and Recommendations:

  1. New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) has identified 17 cases of COVID-19 in New Hampshire. Updated testing numbers can be found on our website.
  2. Testing for COVID-19 is available both through our NH Public Health Laboratories (PHL) and various commercial laboratories (e.g., NorDx, Quest, LabCorp). Healthcare providers must collect a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab for testing at the NH PHL. Please visit commercial laboratory websites for their specimen collection requirements.
  3. Providers should evaluate their symptomatic patients (ideally by phone) to determine if testing is indicated for COVID-19. NH DPHS suggests using the clinical guidance below (Figure). To submit specimens for COVID-19 testing at our NH PHL: 
    • Fill out and send in the following lab requisition form: https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/lab/documents/labrequisition.pdf.
    • Call 603-271-0305 to request a state courier for specimen pickup (phone is monitored evenings and weekends). If you leave a message, please state your name, address, and request for specimen pickup. Healthcare facilities should also develop a system to transport specimens to assist with surge capacity.
  4. We will report COVID-19 test results to providers through usual mechanisms.
  5. All suspect cases undergoing testing at any laboratory (including commercial laboratories) must also be reported to NH DPHS by filling out and faxing the following report form (also attached) to our confidential fax at 603-271-0545: https://www.nh.gov/covid19/healthcare/documents/covid19-reporting-form.pdf 
  6. Recently updated personal protective equipment (PPE) and isolation guidelines (see HAN Update #7) enable provider offices to safely collect COVID-19 specimens. If you are unable to safely collect specimens, do not send a patient to another facility without pre-arrangement. 
  7. We will be hosting weekly calls to answer healthcare provider and local partner questions about COVID-19. The next discussion will be held on Thursday March 19th from 12:00 – 1:00 pm (noon hour), and calls will recur weekly. Call-in information for the Q&A session is: (833) 709-6685; this is an operator assisted call so no conference code is needed.

Full DHHS Alert