New York issues new COVID-19 testing guidelines as flu season approaches

New York

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Department of Health has issued new guidelines that require hospital patients and nursing home residents who have known exposure to the coronavirus or seasonal flu to be tested for both.

Tests will also be required within 48 hours of the death of hospital patients and nursing home residents if they are suspected of having COVID-19 or the flu. But patients and residents who were tested in the two weeks prior to death do not have to be tested again.

State health officials said the new guidelines will help ensure more accurate diagnoses of the two illnesses and “to ensure data integrity.”

“While the human toll this virus has taken on New Yorker is immeasurable, these regulations will ensure we have the most accurate death data possible as we continue to manage COVID-19 while preparing for flu season. Good quality health data helps inform good quality public health decisions, and this information will strengthen our contact tracing efforts and slow the spread of this virus.”

Dr. Howard Zucker
Department of Health Commissioner

The new regulations also apply to funeral directors and medical examiners if a deceased person is suspected of having died from either disease, but were not in the care of a hospital or nursing home at the time.

Facilities and local health departments that can’t perform testing within the required time frame can request that the New York State Health Department perform the test.

Click here for more on the new guidelines.

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