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Nevada allowed to develop, assess and conduct COVID-19 testing on its own

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The State will have more flexibility to test faster and help minimize supply issues

Nevada’s capacity to test patients for COVID-19 took a positive step today. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved three states, including Nevada, to determine the quality of newly developed COVID-19 test kits and kit components.

 “This change in Nevada’s status will allow the State of Nevada, not the FDA, to determine whether products associated with testing are safe and effective for testing,” said Dr. Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory. “This means that when labs in Nevada do validation studies on products to determine whether they are effective prior to launching testing, they can submit their findings to the state, not the FDA, for approval. This is a much faster process.  By the end of next week, we should have data on novel products for testing that should increase testing capacity considerably.” 

This new capability doesn’t open up test availability for every citizen quite yet. However, it does allow health care providers the ability to prioritize who gets tested first: those with serious symptoms, vulnerable citizens, and health care workers most likely to come in contact with COVID-19. Per testing guidelines, those with mild symptoms do not need to be tested.

Other states approved to develop, assess and conduct their own testing for COVID-19 are Maryland and Washington. The State of New York Department of Health Wadsworth Center has also received this approval.

Further testing guidance provided to health care professionals

It is important to note that until testing supplies and laboratory capacity are widely available, the Department of Health and Human Services is asking providers to follow the below recommendations. 

Prioritize testing the following patients displaying COVID-19 symptoms: 

  • Patients hospitalized with severe lower respiratory signs and symptoms of illness 
  • Health care providers and workers 
  • Patients in other public safety occupations (e.g., law enforcement, firefighter, EMS) 
  • Patients involved in an illness cluster in a facility or institution (e.g., health care, schools, corrections, homeless/shelters, other institution/congregate setting) 

Until testing is more readily available, asymptomatic individuals should not be tested 

The following patients should contact their health provider immediately and be tested for COVID-19 if their symptoms worsen or their health care provider recommends testing: 

  • Patients older than 60 years of age 
  • Patients with underlying conditions 
  • Pregnant women 

Regardless of whether testing is performed or not, individuals should: 

  • Stay home except to get medical care 
  • Separate from other people and pets at home 
  • Practice proper hand hygiene 
  • Cover a cough and sneeze with clean single-use tissues
  • Wear a face mask to reduce the spread of the virus at home, in a shared space and in a car 
  • Clean all surfaces that are touched frequently at least once a day 
  • Self-monitor symptoms
  • Seek medical attention if respiratory infection symptoms/illness start worsening including, but not limited to:
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath 
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest 
    • New confusion or inability to arouse 
    • Bluish lips or face 

Healthy individuals and younger individuals under the age of 60 with mild symptoms do not need to be tested 

A negative test result does not rule out the possibility of an infection. 

Guidance for individuals on when to discontinue self-isolation 

Individuals with symptoms who have tested positive for COVID-19 and/or confirmed to have it, and suspected cases who were directed to care for themselves at home, can discontinue home-isolation under the following conditions: 

A. At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery. Recovery is defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications OR resolution of respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); 

B. At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared 

An individual can stop self-isolating when the above criteria have been met and no subsequent respiratory symptoms or illness have occurred. 

This Is Reno’s COVID-19 news coverage

Nevada Legislature pumps brakes after COVID-19 case reported

By SAM METZ AP/Report for America CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada lawmakers pumped the brakes on their emergency special session Saturday, a day after someone in the legislative building tested positive for COVID-19. After four days of interrogating finance officials, school districts and state agency leaders, both chambers decided to reconvene Monday morning to…

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