CDC update requires 6 questions for all new COVID-19 test patients

This week, an updated set of questions were released by the CDC for COVID-19 laboratory test orders. Anyone who orders a COVID-19 test, collects a specimen, or performs a laboratory test, "must make every reasonable effort to collect complete demographic information as well as responses to the following 'ask on order entry' (AOE) questions." These AOE questions were updated as of January 18, 2020 by the CDC.

Six primary questions were present in the latest updated guidance for AOE on COVID-19 test patients. The first of these was "Do you currently work in a healthcare setting with direct patient contact?" The second question was all about symptoms. Included in the "Do you currently have one or more of the following symptoms" question were the following items:

• Fever or chills

• Cough

• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

• Fatigue

• Muscle or body aches

• Headache

• New loss of taste or smell

• Sore throat

• Congestion or runny nose

• Nausea or vomiting

• Diarrhea

This list of questions comes with guidance from the CDC's symptoms of Coronavirus – as updated last on May 13, 2020. The CDC's guidance there suggests that symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. As it's been for many months the CDC also maintains that "anyone can have mild to severe symptoms."

Question three from the CDC's AOE question list is only asked if the answer to number 2 was Yes. Question 3 was "When did your symptoms start?" Question 4 was "are you currently pregnant?" Question 5 asked "Do you currently reside in a congregate (group) care setting, such as, but not limited to:

• a nursing home

• a residential care location for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,

• a psychiatric treatment facility,

• a group home,

• a dormitory,

• a board and care home,

• a homeless shelter, or

• foster care setting.

The last question was "have you had a COVID-19 test?" This question was "to determine if this is the individuals first COVID-19 test. The CDC noted that facilities or healthcare providers that order COVID-19 tests will be required to collect "ask on order entry" (AOE) questions.

For more information on the latest guidance from the CDC on COVID-19 Laboratory Data and testing, see the "How to Report COVID-19 Laboratory Data" website. You can also access related information at the CDC Media Library by seeking the latest updated media content.