At this time, the statutory and regulatory requirements mandating newborn screening have NOT been suspended. Therefore, all newborns must be screened at 24-48 hours, or prior to discharge even if discharged at less than 24 hours of age. If collected early, a repeat needs to be obtained by 7 days of age. Encouraging parents to stay at least 24 hours so they can avoid a return visit is more important than ever. Likewise, collection of quality specimens the first time is also more important than ever. NICU screening requirements for serial screening continue to be in place.
Some of the recommended follow-up protocols are being modified to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure to infants and families from hospital visits for repeat and confirmatory testing. In many cases it will be more important than ever to consult with the appropriate pediatric subspecialist to discuss individual cases and determine the best path forward, considering the patient's and community's circumstances, and the relative risk of serious disease based on the newborn screening result.
During the current COVID-19 Pandemic, the Nebraska Newborn Screening Program will continue to follow our current follow-up process of contacting medical professionals via phone, fax, secure e-fax, and as needed secure e-mails with recommendations for follow-up on abnormal screen results, and other situations requiring repeat screening (such as specimens drawn too early or that are unsatisfactory).
Please scroll to the bottom of this page to reach out to the newborn screening program contacts with any questions.
Although the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is responding to COVID-19, newborn screening guidelines are not changing at this time. An update will be sent if regulations are suspended via Executive Order. Learn more.
If a baby has one of these conditions and it is not found early, a baby could have seizures, physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, chronic illness, or may die.
Blood tests are needed to help find the conditions so treatment can begin early and prevent these effects.
The screening tests are very efficient and give newborns the best chance to have the conditions found early. The tests are not diagnostic. They are a "screen" to find newborns that need more testing to see if they have certain conditions. However, like most lab tests, they cannot guarantee that every affected newborn will be identified, or that only newborns at higher risk of being affected will be found. There will be some "false positives" (newborns with a positive or abnormal screen result who are later found to have normal results), and there might be "false negatives" (affected newborns whose screening test results did not suggest a condition).