Updated Clinical Questions about COVID-19: Questions and Answers

Updated Clinical Questions about COVID-19: Questions and Answers

How should a facilities approach residents who decline testing?

Residents, or their medical powers of attorney, have the right to decline testing. Clinical discussions about testing may include alternative specimen collection sources that may be more acceptable to residents than nasopharyngeal swabs (e.g., anterior nares). Providing information about the method of testing and reason for pursuing testing may facilitate discussions with residents and their medical powers of attorney.

If a resident has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, but declines testing, they should remain on Transmission-Based Precautions until they meet the symptom-based criteria for discontinuation.

If a resident is asymptomatic and declines testing at the time of facility-wide testing, decisions on placing the resident on Transmission-Based Precautions for COVID-19 or providing usual care should be based on whether the facility has evidence suggesting SARS-CoV-2 transmission (i.e., confirmed infection in HCP or nursing-home onset infection in a resident).

Only residents who have a confirmed positive viral test should be moved to COVID-19-designated units or facilities.

How should facilities approach HCP who decline testing?

If HCP with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 decline testing, they should be presumed to have COVID-19 and excluded from work. Return to work decisions should be based on COVID-19 return to work guidance at the discretion of the facility’s occupational health program.

If asymptomatic HCP decline testing, work restriction, if any, should be determined by the facility’s occupational health and local jurisdiction policies. All staff should be trained in proper use of personal protective equipment, including universal facemask policies, hand hygiene, and other measures needed to stop transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

Updated Clinical Questions about COVID-19: Questions and Answers




Laura Hofmann, MSN, RN – Director of Clinical and Nursing Facility Regulatory Services
c: 425-231-4804


July 29, 2020