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NYC DOHMH Advisory #39: Proper Use and Interpretation of SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Tests

December 14, 2020

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) has issued a health advisory with information that pertains to proper use and Interpretation of SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Tests.

Additional highlights:

  • SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests perform best when there is a high probability the individual who will be tested is infected with the virus.

  • Consider the pretest probability before using SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests and when interpreting results, especially in the context of increasing community transmission.

  • Conduct confirmatory testing when someone who: Has symptoms, tests negative OR Has no symptoms, and no known exposure in the past 14 days, tests positive.

  • Confirmatory testing should only be done using a nucleic acid amplification (NAA)-based test performed at a clinical laboratory on a specimen collected within 48 hours of the initial specimen (or as soon thereafter as possible). Individuals should isolate while awaiting confirmatory test results.

  • Provided that their limitations are taken into consideration, SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests can be a valuable screening tool to identify or monitor spread of the virus in congregate settings (e.g., long term care facilities, schools).

  • Follow-up testing cannot be used to test out of isolation after an established diagnosis of COVID-19.

  • New York State (NYS) has modified the timeframe for provider and laboratory. reporting of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza test results to require reporting within 24 hours of receiving test results, instead of three hours.

Please refer to Health Advisory #39 below for additional information:

Antigen Testing HAN_12142020
Download PDF • 224KB


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