New York issues new COVID-19, flu test requirements for hospitals, nursing homes

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The New York State Department of Health updated its guidelines to require hospital patients and nursing home residents exposed to COVID-19 or influenza to have a coronavirus test.



The new regulations also require those individuals to have a coronavirus test if they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 or influenza. Finally, individuals who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 prior to death while in the hospital, or on their way to the hospital, but hadn't taken a COVID-19 test within two weeks before death are required to undergo the coronavirus and influenza tests within 48 hours of death. Hospitals can use rapid COVID-19 tests that cost $5 to $15 per person when testing a deceased individual.

The facilities where individuals with COVID-19 die must report the death to the New York health department after receiving the results of both tests. The state also updated requirements for COVID-19 and influenza testing among funeral directors, coroners and medical examiners that come in contact with individuals who had COVID-19 or were under suspicion of having COVID-19.

A statement from the health department notes that flu season is approaching and said that the department wants to distinguish between COVID-19 and influenza with the increased testing.

 

"In order for New York State to more fully assess and differentiate the number of COVID-19 and influenza-related cases and conduct contact tracing, testing of hospital patients and nursing home residents must be mandatory, where such patients or residents are or were suspected, but not known, to have been suffering from COVID-19 and/or influenza," the health department states.

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