Routine serial COVID re-screening of asymptomatic inpatients ends Nov. 1

PROVIDENCE OREGON – As we continue reviewing the evidence and making needed changes to COVID restrictions, we believe it is time to stop routine weekly serial re-testing of asymptomatic hospitalized patients in most settings.

The serial testing is adding complexity to care while adding minimal value to those patients. It offers only minimal value in interrupting transmission within the hospital. Most other health systems and many ministries within Providence have stopped (or never did) serial testing of inpatients. Serial testing may still be needed in certain circumstances, such as shared patient rooms, congregate settings, or during an outbreak, as directed by infection prevention.

The change is effective Tuesday, Nov. 1. Rescreening is appropriate for patients who develop symptoms while hospitalized, even mild ones. Reach out to the provider for that order.

Further context and considerations

  • Community transmission: As we live our daily lives out in the community, it is highly likely that we are already encountering multiple people who have COVID without knowing it. We can never eliminate the possibility of undiagnosed COVID, even with patients who screened negative on admission. We know much more about the disease now than when we first instituted rescreening. We better understand transmission, have had widespread availability of vaccinations, and ample PPE.
  • PPE: N95 respirators are required for all care provided to patients who are COVID positive, patients under investigation (PUI) and patients under monitoring (PUM). Also:
    • We strongly encourage the use of N95 respirators for any close contact care and non-COVID-related aerosol-generating procedures.
    • Caregivers must wear appropriate PPE based on standard/universal precautions.
    • N95 respirators and eye protection remain available for caregivers that elect to wear them more broadly.
  • Universal masking within patient care settings remains required by Oregon Health Division and Providence Oregon Infection Prevention.



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