UTSW Screening Procedures for Infection Prevention
At UT Southwestern Hospital and Clinics, our patient intake process involves immediately identifying those who have potential respiratory or other infectious diseases and providing masks and isolation for further screening.
If you are admitted, all patient rooms at UTSW Clements University Hospital are private rooms, limiting exposure to other patients. Masks are available to all to further limit exposure and protect others. Please just ask for one at check-in.
These intake coordinators also are trained to ask an initial round of questions about recent travel to areas where infections have been common, people you may have associated with who may have infections, and the time frames of when symptoms developed.
Infection preventionists and/or infectious diseases specialists may ask additional questions to help further guide the potential infectious diagnoses and to order the appropriate tests.
The screening protocol used at UT Southwestern has been developed using the national expertise available on our specialty-trained infectious diseases faculty in accordance with recommendations from the CDC and Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS). This screening process helps ensure potential cases receive the best diagnostic and medical care as well as protect all patients.
How is COVID-19 tested?
Currently, testing can be performed through the CDC, state and/or local health departments, and other commercial labs such as LabCorp or Quest. Multiple academic medical centers and commercial labs are in various stages of developing their own test kits for COVID-19.
Who should be tested for COVID-19?
The CDC has developed criteria for a Person Under Investigation (PUI). These criteria include:
- Travel to certain geographic regions
- Exposure to other individuals who may have confirmed infection with COVID-19
- Severity of the illness at time of evaluation
Individuals who have mild symptoms and have traveled to a region where transmission has been noted can still be considered for testing with guidance from your physician.
Blood and respiratory samples may be taken for testing of a variety of conditions including flu at UT Southwestern labs. If warranted, samples may be sent to the CDC, which has developed a test that can detect SARS-CoV-2.
The CDC does not recommend testing asymptomatic patients. The value of testing asymptomatic patients is unknown at this time.