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COVID-19 Update for CliniciansApril 13, 2020
Isolation & Quarantine Site Update
Syndromic Management of STD during COVID-19 Event
As the need for social distancing changes the ability to see patients face-to-face, telemedicine visits and presumptive treatment are acceptable practices for uncomplicated symptomatic infections and exposures. If a patient reports symptoms or exposure to someone with STD such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, or syphilis, clinicians may choose to treat them without having laboratory test results available (this includes not having collected a specimen at all for testing). The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) recommends that clinicians advise all presumptively treated patients to be tested as soon as practicable, and to seek further medical attention if symptoms persist.
Please find attached guidance from the CDC on management of STD during this challenging time. It is focused on syndromic management of patients based on symptoms when laboratory services are not available, or treating with oral medications when injectable medications are not feasible due to reduced clinical resources or clinic closures.
While it is ideal to collect specimens for HIV and STD testing concurrently with presumptive treatment, we understand that due to requirements for social distancing and redirection of clinical resources and space to attend to patients during the COVID-19 event, the ability to collect specimens from patients may be reduced or eliminated.
One practice that may assist providers in collecting specimens for testing is that patients may self-collect specimens (like urine, vaginal, rectal) for chlamydia and gonorrhea testing. This practice can reduce face-to-face time with a patient. Please remember that expedited partner therapy (EPT) is an option for some partners to persons diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea. This strategy may be helpful for exposed partners who cannot be seen in a clinical environment. These medications can be prescribed to patients or to their partners to be picked up at pharmacies and covered by their insurance payer.
Please continue to report clinically suspected cases of primary and secondary syphilis, as well as laboratory confirmed cases of HIV and other notifiable STD to the Health District (Tel 425- 339-5261, Fax 425-339-8707). Telephone consultation on STD diagnosis and treatment is also available through this line. STD screening and treatment guidelines can be located on the CDC website.
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