Thursday, 25 February, 2021


COVID-19 contacts should be tested, regardless of symptoms

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Patty Aguilar | 28 August, 2020, 07:31

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website earlier this week shifted from its position that all close contacts of known COVID-19 cases should be tested, suggesting that those with no symptoms "do not necessarily need a test".

"Everyone who needs a Covid-19 test, can get a test", the CDC director said.

"Quietly and without an explanation, the CDC on Monday changed its testing policy to no longer recommend a coronavirus test for people who have come in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case but have no symptoms", the Harvard experts wrote.

The old guidelines said people who had been exposed to someone with coronavirus should get tested. Previously, the CDC had advised such individuals to get tested. Those limitations were influenced by supply shortages, said Burgess, who was an ob/gyn physician before entering politics. He tweeted in June that America is "testing far more than any other country".

He said it reflects evolving understanding that a negative test result a few days after exposure may give someone false confidence that they have not become infected.

"Not testing asymptomatic contacts may allow the spread of disease", he said. "Until a vaccine is around and available and a lot of people have stepped up to take it, testing is going to be one of the arrows in the quiver". New CDC guidelines make it optional.

"Asymptomatic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is the Achilles' heel of COVID-19 pandemic control through the public health strategies we have now deployed", the editorial board of the New England Journal of Medicine wrote in April.

"CDC recommends the decision to be tested should be one made in collaboration with public health officials or your health care provider based on individual circumstances and the status of community spread", a statement from HHS said.

Also related to the issue of expanding testing, Burgess criticized academic labs - which AAMC represents to some degree - for "sitting on the sidelines". "This is potentially risky", infectious disease physician Krutika Kuppalli said to The New York Times. He said generally it's considered good practice to test contacts anywhere between the eighth to 14th day because symptoms tend to develop by the end of the first week.

If a shopper is upset about mask guidelines or limits on items in stores, don't force them to follow policies, the CDC guidance says.

A healthcare worker uses a swab to test a man at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) drive-in testing location in Houston, Texas, U.S., August 18, 2020.

"What's really important is that testing is used as an opportunity, to define active cases so that they can be isolated and so that contact tracing can also take place", she said.

The AAMC published "A Road Map to Reset the Nation's Response to the Pandemic" that outlines several other recommendations, but one key piece is the need for "better data" to assess health disparities, Fisher said.

"It seemed entirely weird", she said. 'The Energy and Commerce Committee is already looking into this and our Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, under Mr. Clyburn's leadership, will be looking into it'. Burgess also pointed out that the upcoming flu season could create a second hurdle for reining in the pandemic.

The World Health Organization said Thursday that as societies open up, many are starting to see a resurgence of Covid-19 transmission.

"By testing them we can pick them up earlier if they're going to be infected and go on to be ill - or if they are never going to show enough signs and symptoms that we can detect coronavirus we can pick that up with testing and make sure they're under the appropriate isolations", she said.

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