COVID-19 Testing

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Guidance around testing is somewhat complicated/confusing as more labs capable of testing come on line. In the beginning (and still for State Public Health Lab testing), Jefferson County Health Officer, Dr. Tom Locke, is required to approve testing requests following strict CDC Guidelines. Those guidelines have changed some over the weekend and he has adjusted his guidance accordingly. However, now that the University of Washington lab is now testing and we expect two private labs to begin testing this week and other private labs soon, providers can now make independent decisions about patients they believe need to be tested and Dr. Locke’s authorization is not needed. JCPH fully supports this change. JCPH will automatically receive positive test results from all of the labs approved for testing. While the recommendations for testing are still available to provide guidance to private providers, they are free to utilize their own professional judgement and knowledge of their patients to make their own decisions regarding testing. Only the State Lab requires Health Officer authorization to test/submit specimens. JCPH will be working with labs to provide us with the number of test results they have received from Jefferson County so that we have a denominator to go with the number of tests that come back positive. At least into the foreseeable future, we will be posting both number positive and number negative.