The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) issued updated COVID-19 testing guidance effective June 20, 2021. This guidance applies to all COVID-19 testing in the State of Ohio. A robust testing infrastructure facilitates rapid identification of COVID-19 cases, including asymptomatic cases, and can help interrupt transmission of SARS-CoV-2. ODH continues to provide testing for symptomatic individuals in the following groups: hospitalized patients, residents of long-term care or congregate living settings, patients 65 years of age and older, patients with underlying medical conditions, healthcare workers, first responders, public health workers, critical infrastructure workers, and other priority individuals or groups designated by public health authorities.
Congregate living settings are those where more than six people reside with a propensity for rapid person-to-person spread, including but not limited to: assisted living facilities, nursing facilities, Ohio Veterans Homes, residential mental health and substance use treatment facilities, psychiatric hospitals and group home settings, developmental centers, intermediate care facilities and group homes for individuals with intellectual disabilities, facilities operated by the Ohio Department of Youth Services, facilities operated by the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, homeless and domestic violence shelters, and jails.
Updated COVID-19 Testing Guidance
Testing capacity increased throughout the country during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated information on Testing for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). The role of testing is to quickly identify individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2, promptly isolate them and trace and quarantine any contacts to minimize spread of the virus to others. Testing does not replace comprehensive infection control and prevention activities.
- Symptomatic hospitalized patient
- Symptomatic resident of long-term care or congregate living setting
- Symptomatic patient 65 years of age or older
- Symptomatic patient with underlying medical condition(s)
- Symptomatic healthcare worker
- Symptomatic first responder, public health worker, or critical infrastructure worker
- Symptomatic member of priority group designated by public health authorities.
Testing for SARS-CoV-2 Following Vaccination
Prior receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine will not affect the results of SARS-CoV-2 viral tests; an individual who tests positive on a viral test after COVID-19 vaccination should isolate until they have met criteria to discontinue isolation.
A positive antibody test could indicate previous infection or vaccination. Antibody testing is not currently recommended to assess for immunity to COVID-19 following vaccination or to assess the need for vaccination. For additional information, please see the CDC’s Overview of Testing for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).
Testing for Specific Settings
Guidance and recommendations exist for SARS-CoV-2 testing and interpretation of results in specific settings. Please refer to the CDC website for testing guidance for nursing homes, acute care facilities, healthcare personnel, correctional and detention facilities, homeless shelters and encampments, broad-based testing in congregate correctional, detention, and homeless service settings, K-12 schools, institutes of higher education, non-healthcare workplaces, high-density critical workplaces, and for international air travel.
Report all confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 within 24 hours of identification to the local health department in the jurisdiction in which the person resides. To locate a local health department, please visit the ODH website.
All laboratory results (positive, negative, invalid, inconclusive) should be electronically reported to ODH within 24 hours in accordance with protocols outlined on the ODH Electronic Laboratory Reporting website.
For general questions related to COVID-19, healthcare providers and facilities should contact their local health department. Ohio local health departments should contact the ODH Bureau of Infectious Diseases at 614.995.5599.