Information for Health Departments on Reporting Cases of COVID-19

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is a disease caused by the newly emerged coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. To prevent further spread of SARS-CoV-2 and to collect information to better understand the virus and its impact on health outcomes, CDC has developed a form that provides a standardized approach to reporting COVID-19 cases (individuals with at least one respiratory specimen that tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19). These data are needed to track the impact of the outbreak and inform public health response.

The COVID-19 Case Report Formpdf icon is designed to collect key information on COVID-19 case-patients, including:

  • Demographic, clinical, and epidemiologic characteristics
  • Exposure and contact history
  • Course of clinical illness and care received

Note: Previously, CDC requested that case reports be routinely submitted for Persons Under Investigation (PUI) (using the same form as cases); however, we are no longer requesting this information with one exception – jurisdictions that do not have the capacity to do their own testing and are sending specimens to CDC.

Additional resources to assist in the completion and analysis of the COVID-19 Case Report Form are available:

Tips to submit a report on a case

Healthcare providers who are concerned that a patient may have COVID-19 should contact their localexternal icon or stateexternal icon health department immediately.

At this time, the following steps should be taken for specimens being tested by CDC:

For jurisdictions that have the capacity to do their own laboratory testing

For reporting jurisdictions who are able to assign nCoV IDs for COVID-19 case-patients and use CDC’s electronic reporting system: The jurisdiction should enter all cases into CDC’s electronic reporting system with the jurisdiction-issued nCoV ID, unless other arrangements to transmit data have been made and approved by CDC. At this time, we ask that jurisdictions prioritize case reporting. However, jurisdictions can use the CDC’s electronic reporting system to manage PUI data based on their local needs.

For reporting jurisdictions that are not yet able to assign nCoV IDs or use CDC’s electronic reporting system: The jurisdiction should call the CDC EOC Watch desk at 770-488-7100 to receive a CDC-issued nCoV ID, and to complete a PUI and Case Report Form.

For jurisdictions that do not have capacity to do their own testing and are sending specimens to CDC for testing:

This document provides supplemental guidance regarding specimen collection, storage, and shipping to CDC laboratories:

For reporting jurisdictions that are able to assign nCoV IDs for PUIs and use CDC’s electronic reporting system: The jurisdiction should enter all PUIs into CDC’s electronic reporting system with the jurisdiction-issued nCoV IDs, unless other arrangements to transmit data have been made and approved by CDC. Testing results will be returned to the state lab per current protocol.

For reporting jurisdictions that are not yet able to assign nCoV IDs or use CDC’s electronic reporting system:  The jurisdiction should call the CDC EOC Watch Desk at 770-488-7100 to obtain a CDC-issued nCoV ID number, and complete a PUI and Case Report Form. Testing results will be returned to the state lab per current protocol.

Please provide an nCoV ID with all specimens submitted to CDC to avoid delays in testing.

The nCoV ID should be included on all PUI and Case Report Forms, specimen testing submission documents (i.e., form 50.34 or GFAT) and shipping labels. All specimens need an nCoV ID for submission to CDC laboratories for testing. In the event that an nCoV ID is missing, CDC laboratories will freeze the sample, and CDC staff will reach out to the point-of-contact listed on the submission form. CDC will test the specimen once the nCoV ID has been submitted.

Please refer to the following page for guidance on respiratory specimen collection, storage, and shipment (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/lab/guidelines-clinical-specimens.html). Current CDC guidance recommends collection of a single respiratory nasopharyngeal (NP) swab. Please contact your state or territorial health department for more information on submitting reports of PUI COVID-19 cases.