DC Health Issues Updated Coronavirus Testing Guidelines

Washington, D.C. (Friday, March 6, 2020) – The District’s Department of Health has released updated coronavirus (COVID-19) testing mandates for all DC healthcare providers.  The new guidelines are based on updates from the CDC earlier this week.  Under the new guidance, only patients who exhibit certain symptoms and meet other criteria will be tested for the virus.

The District, like Maryland and Virginia, now has its own ability to test for COVID-19.  That means test results can be determined in a matter of hours instead of days.

In a statement released to the press today, the Health Department said specific Persons Under Investigation (PUI) who fall under specified criteria based on exposure and clinical factors and who are pre-approved by DC Health will be tested through the DC Department of Forensic Sciences Public Health Laboratory (DFS PHL).


Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) in the District will be tested based on the following criteria:

  • Having fever or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g. cough or shortness of breath)AND any person, including health care personnel who has had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset
  • Having fever or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g. cough or shortness of breath)AND a history of travel to a country with a Level 2 or 3 Travel Advisory OR an area with confirmed ongoing community transmission, within 14 days of symptom onset
  • Having fever or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g. cough or shortness of breath)AND a history of residing in a nursing home or long-term care facility within 14 days of symptom onset

The DC Health Department also issued this advisory for residents who traveled.

  •  Residents who traveled to a Level 3 country should stay home for 14 days from the time they left the area(s) with widespread and ongoing community spread and practice social distancing.
  • Residents who traveled to a Level 2 country are to limit contact with others and monitor your health for 14 days after returning to the United States.
  • Residents who may experience any symptoms related to COVID-19, while practicing social distancing, should contact their healthcare provider.

To stay up to date on Level 2 and 3 countries visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

To date, there have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the District although one test result is pending.