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News & Updates: Health Alerts

Arizona Health Alert Network - Contingency PPE and Testing Prioritization

Wednesday, March 25, 2020  
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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has convened the State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee (SDMAC).  On March 24, 2020,  guidance for personal protective equipment (PPE) preservation and testing prioritization was approved in accordance with the Arizona Crisis Standards of Care Plan.


Recommendation: Shift to Contingency PPE, Prepare for Crisis Measures

Standards for PPE use should be shifted from conventional to contingency measures;

organizations should prepare for crisis measures.  Recommendations for contingency use of different elements of PPE include extended use strategies.  Further details can be found online under CDC’s Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of PPE.  


Recommendation: Set Testing Prioritization 

Given limited testing supplies, both reagents and swabs, and limited PPE, the SDMAC approved the following testing priorities.  The goal of testing should be to limit introduction of COVID-19 in healthcare and congregate settings and vulnerable populations.

  • Public health and healthcare professionals should prioritize testing among three specific groups until sufficient and consistent PPE, testing supplies and capacity are widely available:
    • Healthcare workers, first responders, and employer identified critical infrastructure personnel* with COVID-19 symptoms
    • Individuals living in congregate settings with symptoms of COVID-19
    • Individuals hospitalized with respiratory symptoms  
  • Community-based COVID-19 testing (drive-through, walk-up, etc.) should be focused on making tests available to the three priority groups above.
  • Healthy individuals and those with mild disease do not require testing. These individuals should practice social distancing and follow the recommendations of their local and state public health authorities. 

More information on the SDMAC and the guidance reported here can be found on the ADHS website for SDMAC.

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