February 28, 2020

CDC releases revised COVID-19 guidance for health care professionals

For Immediate Release:
Feb. 28, 2020

Media Contact:
Lisa Cox
Chief, Office of Public Information
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services


JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Within its COVID-19 guidance for health professionals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a revised and expanded definition for individuals who meet the person under investigation (PUI) COVID-19 criteria and can be approved for testing. Few people within Missouri have met this criteria to date, and all have tested negative for the virus. 

Courtesy of CDC

Clinical Features


Epidemiologic Risk

Fever or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g. cough or shortness of breath) AND Any person, including healthcare workers, who has had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset
Fever and signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough or shortness of breath) requiring hospitalization AND A history of travel from affected geographic areas (see below) within 14 days of symptom onset
Fever with severe acute lower respiratory illness (e.g., pneumonia, ARDS) requiring hospitalization and without alternative explanatory diagnosis (e.g., influenza) AND No source of exposure has been identified

“We are committed to providing new information from the CDC as we receive it in what is a dynamic process, and we encourage people with questions to visit our website for accurate and timely information,” said Dr. Randall Williams, Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). 

As previously announced by DHSS, the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory was approved by the CDC to begin providing testing on Thursday. The test uses real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) to detect the virus which causes COVID-19, and it can provide same-day results from when a specimen is received at the laboratory. 

To date, there have been no cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Missouri. However, it is important to know what to do if you have concerns about an illness during this outbreak. DHSS encourages people to call their health care provider or local health department if they are at risk for COVID-19 to inform them of travel history and symptoms. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness. While sick, avoid contact with people and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others. 

There are simple everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of all types of respiratory viruses. These include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

For more information, visit www.health.mo.gov/coronavirus or the CDC’s COVID-19 website. 

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Related news releases from DHSS:

Feb. 27, 2020
DHSS Director Williams meets at White House to discuss federal, state and local health officials’ strategic alignment on COVID-19

Feb. 11, 2020
Missouri is ‘high performer’ in public health emergency preparedness

Feb. 10, 2020
Missouri DHSS and partners continue planning and preparing for novel coronavirus

Jan. 27, 2020
DHSS provides update on novel coronavirus (nCoV)

Jan. 22, 2020
Missouri DHSS monitors novel coronavirus

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at http://health.mo.gov or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo