Nebraska healthcare providers now able to order COVID-19 tests online

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KCAU) – Direct, on-line ordering of the COVID-19 PCR test without telephone pre-approval by public health has been enabled by the Nebraska Public Health Lab (NPHL).

NPHL testing is provided at the expense of public health and provides an in-state alternative with a fast turn-around time, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services said.

Patients tested at NPHL are required to meet the priority requirements below.

In-patients: Any in-patient will be tested.
Out-patients: Persons in the following groups with a clinical or rule-out diagnosis of COVID-19 can be tested at NPHL:

  • Healthcare workers
  • Public Safety/First Responders (EMS, law enforcement, firefighters)
  • Residents and staff at nursing homes
  • Residents and staff at group homes, homeless shelters, and daycare facilities
  • Individuals > 65 years old, and patients with serious underlying conditions

Providers can seek NPHL testing for patients who fail to meet these requirements based on special circumstances that warrant rapid turnaround time.

Contact a state/local public health authority for telephone pre-authorization. For all other patients, order COVID-19 testing through either in-state or national commercial laboratories.

To maximize throughput at NPHL, the lab is group-testing pooled specimens. Pools are created using five individual specimens.

If the pool tests negative, all five contributors are considered negative.

If the pool tests positive, the individual contributors to the pool are re-tested separately. This conserves reagents and allows more persons to be tested.

To optimize this method, we request that ordering providers indicate on the order form if the provider believes the likelihood of a positive test to be high or low. T

he low likelihood specimens will be pooled to help save on scarce kits and reagents used to run the test.

For more information on ordering a COVID-19 test click here.

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