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What are the criteria for determining a COVID-19 case?

There are a few different criteria for how we officially determine a case of COVID-19: Lab criteria and clinical criteria.

Lab criteria is split between Confirmatory laboratory evidence, presumptive laboratory evidence and supportive laboratory evidence.

  • Confirmatory laboratory evidence: Detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 ribonucleic acid (SARS-CoV-2 RNA). Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a form of genetic material carried by the virus (like DNA) but is single stranded. This test is performed using a molecular amplification test, also known as a PCR test. See more about the types of tests available on ASM.
  • Presumptive laboratory evidence: Detection of SARS-CoV-2 by antigen test (see antigen test definition) in a respiratory specimen
  • Supportive laboratory evidence: Detection of specific antibody (see antibody test definition) in serum, plasma, or whole blood. Detection of specific antigen in an autopsy specimen.