If a local doctor orders a COVID-19 test, the patient gets one

The good news, according to lassencares.org, is there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Lassen County as of Tuesday, April 14. The website reports 91 tests have been performed with 82 negative results and nine tests pending.

Some on social media have complained about the lack of testing in Lassen County, and local officials explained county’s COVID-19 testing process

Richard Egan, Lassen County’s Administrative Officer who also serves as a public information officer for the COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center, said Lassen County did not create the testing protocols being followed in Lassen County — in fact, the state of California established these protocols.

According to Egan, local doctors make the testing decisions. When a doctor requests a test, it is given.

Egan said while Lassen County has only tested 85 individuals so far, residents should realize doctors ordered each and every one of those tests because they were concerned the patient may have contracted COVID-19.

The good news, according to Egan, is that all those tests came back negative. And he emphasized every single person a doctor determined might be infected with the virus has been tested.

James Moore, Susanville’s fire chief, also addressed the COVID-19 issue at a recent Susanville City Council meeting held at Jensen Hall.

Moore told the council the multi-agency incident command team (Lassen County Sheriff’s Office, Lassen Community College, Lassen County, Susanville Police Department, Lassen County Fire Department, CalFire, Susanville Fire Department and multiple other agencies) was fully staffed with about 70 members, but if the virus hits Lassen County that number could increase to perhaps as many as 200.

“I think it’s important to discuss,” Moore said, “if you read Facebook enough and you read the concerns of the community, there’s a concern that we’re not testing people, that people aren’t getting the test. My mom didn’t get a test. My aunt didn’t get a test. I didn’t get a test … The simple fact is there are tiers in the testing system as provided by state public health agencies, and the hospitals and the health departments are following protocol.”


Information from lassencares

According to the lassencares website, “Testing is currently available and taking place in Lassen County. Testing is being completed based on health care providers’ orders. Health care providers may not find it necessary to order tests for individuals who are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms.

“If you are exhibiting any of the symptoms related to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), patients are encouraged to contact their health care providers by phone prior to showing up to any medical facility. Please continue to follow the executive orders from governor Newsom and participate in social distancing to keep our community safe.”


Guidance from the California Department of Public Health

According to the California Department of Public Health, “Testing for COVID-19 is a medical test and should be done if a licensed health care provider determines it is necessary based on the signs, symptoms and history of a patient. There are many reasons why testing should be based on medical indications and a health care provider decision. A health care provider can provide results to the patient and help the patient understand the results and provide appropriate care.”

The state recommends people be “considered for testing depending on clinical severity and community health relevance.”

The state’s ranks the criteria as:

  • No. 1, hospitalized patients with signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19;
  • No. 2, residents and staff of long-term care facilities with signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19;
  • No. 3, other persons who are at high risk for severe infections with signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19. These persons include older adults (65 and older) and individuals with chronic medical conditions;
  • No. 4, residents and staff of correctional facilities and other congregate settings with signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19; and,
  • No. 5, healthcare personnel with signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19.

The CDPH also advised persons with mild illness should contact their health care provider by phone to discuss the need for testing; persons with mild respiratory symptoms who do not need medical care and are not in one of the above groups should not be routinely tested for COVID-19; these persons should care for themselves at home as they normally would for a mild illness.

In addition, ill person should stay at home and away from others until there has been no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, there has been improvement in respiratory symptoms (cough and shortness of breath) for at least three days and it is at least seven days since symptoms first appeared.

Asymptomatic persons should not be tested for COVID-19. Current testing for COVID-19 cannot detect prior infection.


Questions or more information

For more information and updates, visit lassencares.org and the LassenCares Facebook page. If you have any questions regarding COVID-19, call the Lassen County COVID-19 call center at 251-8100 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through