MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —  The Minnesota Department of Health has just issued updated guidance on the criteria recommended for people to get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19).

There is a extremely limited number of the tests, due to a national shortage of the laboratory testing materials, and so state leaders are asking for testing to be focused tightly on those who need it the most.

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(credit: CBS)

The following recommendations were sent to Minnesota health care providers on Tuesday:

  • Limit sending specimens to the Minnesota Department of Health to those from hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
  • Hospitals and health care systems should assess whether they can send specimens to a commercial reference laboratory.
  • All patients with undiagnosed fever and/or acute respiratory symptoms should self-quarantine for 7 days after illness onset, or 72 hours after resolution of fever and improvement of respiratory symptoms.
  • Those with symptoms should limit their activities in public for 14 days.
  • If you have a suspect or known case of COVID-19, and you have severe underlying health conditions or are an older adult, you should contact your health care provider to see if they have additional recommendations for you.
  • If possible, call ahead to your health care provider before seeking care in-person.

“These are situations in which the results of the tests will have implications for our health care settings both for staffing and for bed availability,” said Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease division director at the Minnesota Department of Health.

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Again, if you have fever and respiratory symptoms, you’re asked to go ahead and quarantine yourself to your house. If symptoms are severe or you are older, contact your health provider if possible before going in.

The health department says that healthcare workers and those living in long-term care facilities will also be given a higher priority for testing.

MDH has set up a COVID-19 public hotline that is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m,: 651-201-3920.

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The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has a hotline to field questions about the issues associated with community mitigation, including school and business impacts. Their hotline numbers are 651-297-1304 in the metro, and toll-free at 1-800-657-3504 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.