Guidance for Repeat COVID-19 Testing


  • Repeat testing of COVID-19 negative inpatients should be reserved for patients who the clinician has a continued high index of suspicion in the presence of a negative COVID-19 test result, a negative respiratory pathogen panel (RRP), and a lack of alternative diagnosis. Examples include the following:
    • Patient has developed additional or worsening symptoms since the time of initial testing, such as a development of a new fever in a patient with a persistent cough.
    • Patient has persistent symptoms, such as cough, AND consistent chest imaging or lab results (e.g. lymphopenia).
  • Checking additional COVID-19 tests from a nasopharyngeal source for a patient who has already had two negative tests is not recommended, unless the patient clearly develops new symptoms which may indicate a newly acquired COVID-19 infection.
  • Before repeat COVID-19 testing, consider ID or pulmonary consult for additional consideration of other possible causes of the patients concerning symptoms.
  • Contact infection prevention if there are questions about continuing inpatient isolation after a negative COVID-19 test result.


Repeat COVID-19 testing of outpatients should be avoided unless patients develop new symptoms concerning for newly acquired infection or worsening symptoms which may indicate need for admission.

Updated; April 3, 2020