Long -Term Care COVID-19 Testing Requirements

This interim guidance provides updated guidelines and criteria for COVID-19 testing in licensed long-term care (LTC) facilities, as defined by the Nursing Home Care Act, 210 ILCS 45, primarily focusing on skilled nursing and intermediate care facilities.

Given their congregate setting and resident populations served (e.g., older adults often with underlying chronic medical conditions), nursing home populations are at the highest risk of being affected by COVID-19. If infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, residents are at increased risk of serious illness. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is committed to working proactively with LTC facilities to prevent illnesses.

The Nursing Home Care Act requires each LTC facility to designate a person or persons as Infection Prevention and Control Professionals to develop and to implement policies governing the control of infections and communicable diseases (210 ILCS 45/2-213(d)). This policy must be written, clear, unambiguous and made available to the public (210 ILCS 45/2-210). This guidance outlines how each LTC facility must develop an infection and communicable disease control policy that includes a facility assessment, a testing plan, and a response strategy for COVID-19.

Facility Assessment

Each LTC facility must complete the Illinois Long-Term Care Facility Assessment for COVID-19, available at: https://redcap.dph.illinois.gov/surveys/?s=L3HPFNXEJD

This assessment was previously distributed March 20, 2020. Any LTC facility that did not submit a response at that time must do so within seven days of the issuance of this guidance.

Testing Plan and Response Strategy

Each LTC facility must develop a written COVID-19 testing plan and response strategy within 14 days of the issuance of this guidance and be made available upon request by IDPH. Each LTC facility must account for scenarios when the facility is not experiencing an outbreak and scenarios when the facility has a COVID-19 outbreak. The response strategy must include a policy on personal protective equipment (PPE) that specifies the types and quantity of PPE required to properly care for the facility’s residents. The response strategy must specify the necessary personnel, and the required training or experience of the personnel, to properly care for the number and types of residents served by the facility, including the personnel necessary to execute the COVID-19 testing plan. The testing plan must identify the ordering physician, method of obtaining consents for the tests, and the criteria and frequency for testing residents and staff. The results of testing should be used to identify asymptomatic cases, to confirm infection in symptomatic cases, to evaluate quality indicators, to follow-up on infection control programs, and to support decision-making.

The COVID-19 testing plan and response strategy must conform to guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including but not limited to the following:

Identified Laboratory with Adequate Capacity

Every COVID-19 testing plan must identify by name a dedicated laboratory contracted or otherwise engaged to provide COVID-19 clinical testing services according to the volume and frequency identified in the testing plan. IDPH can advise LTC facilities regarding laboratories with available capacity.

IDPH can refer facilities with no COVID-19 cases in the last 28 days to a partner laboratory. LTC facilities can request COVID-19 testing and onsite specimen collection support at https://redcap.dph.illinois.gov/surveys/?s=8TYYKCETCX.

Referred facilities are responsible for contracting with the partner laboratory, including providing insurance information for any person tested. The contracted laboratory will provide testing kits directly to the LTC facility. If requests exceed capacity, IDPH will prioritize assistance based on these considerations:

  • High local incidence of COVID-19 cases;
  • rapid increase in local incidence of COVID-19 cases; and
  • high local score on CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index (SVI).

The IDPH laboratory is another source for testing as part of outbreak response and can provide test kits and run the tests. Facilities must work with their local health department (LHD) to order testing supplies and arrange for testing at an IDPH laboratory (Chicago, Springfield, or Carbondale). Facilities must obtain an outbreak or INEDSS number from their LHD to complete the supplies order form, available at https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/23f8f4130df043568f2e92169b8cda40.

As part of the development of an infection and communicable disease control policy for COVID-19, each LTC facility must identify a contracted or engaged laboratory to continue to provide COVID-19 clinical testing services according to their testing plan.

Onsite Training for Specimen Collection

Subject to availability, IDPH can provide onsite training for proper specimen collection or other assistance. LTC facilities can request onsite training for specimen collection at https://redcap.dph.illinois.gov/surveys/?s=8TYYKCETCX.

LTC Facility Testing Guidelines

Facilities that experience an outbreak or identify their first case

For a facility experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak (one lab positive case and one case with COVID-19-like symptoms) or that has identified its first case, the facility must promptly report the occurrence to its LHD. The facility and LHD, in consultation with the IDPH Regional Infection Control Consultant, will arrange for testing of residents and staff. Testing is most informative to the outbreak response when implemented at the onset of the outbreak and when it includes both staff and residents. Subsequent to initial testing, the LHD, in consultation with the IDPH Regional Infection Control Consultant, will apply CDC guidance in determining the extent and timing of any retesting of residents and staff.

Testing should not supersede existing infection prevention and control interventions and should inform infection prevention and control actions, such as:

  • Identifying health care workers (HCW) with SARS-CoV-2 infection for work exclusion.
  • Enabling an HCW who tests negative to return to work after being excluded for suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • Cohorting residents to separate those with SARS-CoV-2 from those without detectable SARS-CoV-2 infection at the time of testing to reduce the opportunity for further transmission.
  • Determining the SARS-CoV-2 burden across different units or facilities and allocating resources.

Facilities with no identified cases in the last 28 days

For a facility with no identified cases in the last 28 days, testing must occur in residents and staff as outlined in the facility’s testing plan.

Questions regarding the facility assessment, testing plan, or response strategy can be directed to DPH.LTCtesting@illinois.gov.

Long Term Care Facility Lab Options

Name: LabCorp

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Contact Email: Nagelb1@LabCorp.com
Website: https://www.labcorp.com/
Services Offered: PCR testing
Transport Options: Courier services available

Name: Reditus

Location: Pekin, Illinois
Contact Email: a.rossi@redituslabs.com
Website: https://www.redituslabs.com/#contact
Services Offered: PCR Testing
Phone: (469)498-0222
Transport Options: Courier services available

Name: Tempus

Location: Chicago, Illinois/Atlanta, Georgia
Contact Email: covidsupport@tempus.com
Website: https://www.tempus.com/
Services Offered: PCR testing
Phone: (833)514-4187
Transport Options: Shipping is available to and from the sites

Name: Aegis

Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Contact Email: jeffrey.tingey@aegislabs.com
Website: https://www.aegislabs.com/
Services Offered: PCR testing
Phone: (800)533-7052
Transport Options: Test kits shipped to site and courier is provided as needed. FedEx overnight shipping used to send samples back to lab.

Name: Curative Labs

Location: California and Washington, D.C.
Contact Email: sales@curativeinc.com
Website: https://curativeinc.com
Services Offered: PCR testing and antibody testing

Ammon Analytical Laboratories

Location: Linden, New Jersey
Contact Email: adecker@ammonlabs.com
Website: www.ammonlabs.com
Services Offered: PCR testing and antibody testing
Phone: (800)533-7052
Transport Options: Test kits shipped to site. Fedex or UPS used to send samples back to lab.


Location: East Northport, New York
Contact Email: service@acutis.com
Website: https://acutis.com
Services Offered: PCR testing
Phone: (844)522-8847
Transport Options: Test kits shipped to site, courier available for moving samples in-state to prepare for shipping to New York.

Real Diagnostics

Location: Reistertown, Maryland
Contact Email: jamie.nocher@realdxlabs.com
Website: https://www.realdxlabs.com/
Services Offered: PCR testing
Phone: (323)810-0464
Transport Options: UTM included for room temperature specimen transportation to our lab.Next Day Air shipping via UPS.

Medical Diagnostic Laboratories

Location: Hamilton, New Jersey
Contact Email: jkrueger@mdlab.com
Website: www.mdlab.com
Services Offered: PCR testing
Phone: (866)699-8951
Transport Options: Specimens will be overnighted via FedEx to the lab. MDL has 7 reps in Illinois that will deliver supplies, train clients, and monitor all pickups.

Mako Medical

Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Contact Email: mcullinan@makomedical.com
Website: www.makomedical.com
Services Offered: PCR testing
Phone: (617)519-1600
Transport Options: Pickup by FedEx and send for early morning delivery. We result in 24-48 Hours.

Simple Labs

Location: Harwood Heights, Illinois
Contact Email: outreach@simplelaboratories.com
Website: https://www.simplelaboratories.com
Services Offered: PCR testing; Test Collection services available
Phone: (773)775-6697
Transport Options: Shipping or courier services available.

Bridge Diagnostics

Location: Irvine, CA
Contact Email: phil@bridgediagnostics.com
Website: www.bridgediagnostics.com 
Services Offered: PCR Testing (Swab and Saliva) 
Phone: (630)862-4697 
Transport Options: Courier/UPS

**Inclusion on this list does not constitute an endorsement of services, and the State of Illinois makes no representations as to the quaity or efficacy of these services. This is simply a running list of commercial labs that have communicated to the State of Illinois that they have capacity to serve long-term care facilities. Any lab capacble of providing reliable services to LTC facilities and is interested in being inclided on this list, please contact DPH.COVIDLAB@illinois.gov

Last Updated: 10/14/2020