Residents confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19 may need to be isolated for nearly 40 days while undergoing treatment in order to prevent its spread. 

Chinese researchers studying data from COVID-19 patients who have died or survived found that the median duration of viral shedding, and time that they remain infectious, was 20 days for survivors — with the longest duration being 37 days. Findings were published online Wednesday in The Lancet medical journal.

Investigators argued that the prolonged viral shedding supports strategies that promote isolating infected patients and giving them optimal antiviral interventions to improve overall outcomes. 

The World Health Organization on Wednesday officially declared the coronavirus a pandemic — the first since the H1N1 flu pandemic of 2009. 

Globally, there have been more than 125,000 confirmed cases and more than 4,600 deaths. Nearly 81,000 of those cases have been in China alone, along with nearly 3,200 deaths. 

A Washington state skilled nursing facility, Life Care Center of Kirkland, was the first site of an outbreak in the United States. 

As of Wednesday, the state’s King County Health Department reported 234 cases and 26 deaths from the virus. Of the 26 deaths, 22 have been associated with Life Care Centers in Kirkland. That health department is also working with nine other long-term care facilities where cases have been reported in that area. 

There were about 1,200 cases and more than 35 deaths attributed to COVID-19 as of Thursday in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

CMS releases COVID-19 FAQs 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has published frequently asked questions to help state Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance programs as they respond to COVID-19. 

Topics covered under the FAQs including telehealth coverage, prior authorization requirements for quarantined groups and COVID-19 test detection coverage. 

“We are especially mindful of our beneficiaries with underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable. CMS is doing everything in its power to help states eliminate any barriers or delays in their care,” Administrator Seema Verma said.