CDC Responds to Concerns About COVID-19
Test Guidelines

Damian McNamara

August 27, 2020

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a statement today in response to concerns that revised COVID-19 testing guidelines might result in an increase in disease transmission.

Asymptomatic individuals who come into close contact with people suspected or confirmed to have SARS-CoV-2 infection can seek testing, CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, said.

Described as a clarification by the CDC, others saw it as a response to pressure from public health officials and physician groups who disagreed with the new testing strategy, according to multiple media outlets.

Initial policy changes made without fanfare this week suggested that testing should be reserved for symptomatic people or vulnerable, asymptomatic populations, unless otherwise directed by a physician or local health authority.

However, "testing may be considered for all close contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients," Redfield said in today's statement.

CDC Director Dr Robert Redfield

"Testing is meant to drive actions and achieve specific public health objectives," Redfield added. "Everyone who needs a COVID-19 test can get a test. Everyone who wants a test does not necessarily need a test." He reiterated a need to focus on testing symptomatic people, as well as those with significant exposure, including healthcare workers and first responders.

It remains unclear if the CDC testing guidance last updated on Tuesday will change following Redfield's statement.

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