CMAAO Coronavirus Facts and Myth Buster: CDC New Testing Guidance

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With input from Dr Monica Vasudev

1088: CDC Reverses COVID-19 Testing Guidance Once Again: Exposed Individuals Without Symptoms Need Tests

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) triggered an outcry among state public health officials and experts in late August by stating that people who do not have symptoms may not need to get tested. Prior to August 24, the CDC had encouraged testing for all those who were exposed. The recent update returns the CDCs testing guidance to what it said before it was changed in late August.

It is now unequivocal, as the agency states that for individuals without symptoms who have been in close contact with an infected person for at least 15 minutes: “You need a test.”

Until a few weeks ago, the CDC recommendations stated: “Testing is recommended for all close contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Because of the potential for asymptomatic and presymptomatic transmission, it is important that contacts of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection be quickly identified and tested.”

The guidance was altered on August 24, stating that if patients did not have symptoms, they did not necessarily need to undergo a test, unless it was recommended by a healthcare provider or state/local health official or they were “vulnerable”, which was criticised by public health professionals.

Dr KK Aggarwal

President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA