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CDC Issues New Testing Guidelines (Online-Only Article)

September 2020
Practice Management General/Other
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The CDC recently altered its testing guidance for those that have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, whether a doctor, staff member, or patient. As discussed last month, the CDC still recommends you immediately notify anyone who came in contact with the COVID-19 infected individual within 14 days prior to their testing positive or displaying symptoms.

Prior CDC guidelines stated testing was recommended for any individual who had close contact with a person infected with the coronavirus, regardless of whether they displayed symptoms, since there was a significant risk of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission of the virus.

The CDC modified its testing guidelines recently directing that those in close contact (typically defined as being within 6 feet for a period of at least 15 minutes) of someone infected with the coronavirus does not necessarily need to be tested if they do not exhibit symptoms (asymptomatic). The new guidelines provide exceptions for “vulnerable” individuals, or others that health care providers or state and local health care officials recommend be tested.

While the CDC’s change in testing protocols has sparked widespread criticism, it’s more in line with the current testing reality. In many cases, local health departments and health care providers are still refusing to test individuals with no symptoms, regardless of whether they have been in close contact with an infected individual or have previously tested positive.

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