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What's a 'presumptive positive' coronavirus test?

After a Fort Bend County man tested 'presumptive positive,' we were left with a lot of questions.

HOUSTON — Health officials in Fort Bend County on Wednesday said a man had a "presumptive positive" coronavirus test.

After the announcement was made, many people were left wondering what exactly that meant, so we at KHOU 11 reached out to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in search of answers.

Here are the questions we sent and the answers we got from the CDC:

Question: Please help us with a better understanding of the term “presumptive positive”. What does that mean, and how different is that from a positive test result?

Answer: Presumptive positive cases are persons with at least one respiratory specimen that tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 at a state or local laboratory.

Laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases are persons with at least one respiratory specimen that tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 at a CDC laboratory.

State health laboratories are reporting their results to the CDC. The CDC is consolidating state reports and combining them with CDC-confirmed test results to present a national aggregated case count daily from Monday through Friday. CDC is reporting cumulative confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the United States since Jan. 21, 2020. We will post case counts submitted to CDC by 4 p.m. the prior day on the COVID-19 response website at noon.

Question: Regarding the testing, according to state officials there was a test performed at the public health lab in Houston. How long will it take for the CDC to run the test and get results that will potentially confirm the results from the Houston lab?

Answer: I don’t have the official number for this. I know they're done rather quickly, but transportation back and forth, and volume affect the timeline.

Question: In terms of quarantine, what are the protocols for the patient while he or she is in the hospital and what are the guidelines for any healthcare employees, staff, nurses and doctors involved in his care?

Answer: Click here: Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) or Persons Under Investigation for COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings.

Question: Can you please explain the process by which any persons who the patient came into contact with will be evaluated in terms of risk of exposure and potentially also being positive for COVID-19.

Answer: Click here: Interim Guidance for Public Health Personnel Evaluating Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) and Asymptomatic Close Contacts of Confirmed Cases at Their Home or Non-Home Residential Settings.

Question: How do you determine what happens to the people who are not showing any symptoms? What will happen to those people once identified?

Answer: Click here: Interim US Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Persons with Potential Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Exposure in Travel-associated or Community Settings.

Click here: Interim Guidance for Public Health Personnel Evaluating Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) and Asymptomatic Close Contacts of Confirmed Cases at Their Home or Non-Home Residential Settings.

For more information on the coronavirus, click here.

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