COVID-19 and Connect Care - COVID-19 and Respiratory Pathogen Testing for Inpatients

Alberta's laboratory medicine services continue spectacular work addressing extraordinary demands associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in its second wave. Strategic decisions are made to ensure that resources are focused on the most efficient way to help physicians diagnose patients presenting with infection-related respiratory symptoms.

Effective December 1, 2020, the COVID-19 and respiratory virus testing algorithm changes to improve test utilization in emergency room and inpatient settings. Key developments include:
  • Throat Swabs - Lack sensitivity for detecting non-COVID-19 respiratory viruses, and so will only be processed for COVID-19.
  • Nasopharyngeal (NP) Specimens - Can be tested for COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.
  • Influenza Like Illness (ILI) NPs - For ED and inpatients, can be tested for COVID-19, influenza and RSV.
  • Full Respiratory Panel (RPP) - Testing should be restricted to patients presenting with ILI and immunocompromised, critical respiratory failure, flaccid paralysis, myocarditis or pericarditis; or for outbreak investigations under the direction of Public Health or Infection Prevention and Control (IPC).
  • Bulletin: COVID-19 and other respiratory virus testing changes