CDC director walks back new COVID-19 testing guidelines

COVID-19 testing "may be considered" for anyone exposed to the virus, said Robert Redfield, MD, director of the CDC, as reported by The New York Times.

The CDC updated its COVID-19 testing guidelines Aug. 24, saying people without symptoms don't always need to be tested. The new CDC guidelines were developed by the White House coronavirus task force, not CDC scientists, according to the Times. Adm. Brett Giroir, MD, testing czar and assistant secretary for health at HHS, said that members of the task force unanimously approved the change, but Anthony Fauci, MD, told CNN he was undergoing surgery and not at the Aug. 20 meeting to discuss the guidelines. 

In a statement issued late Aug. 26, Dr. Redfield said "testing may be considered for all close contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients." Though the statement was made in an effort to clarify the new policy, the guidelines issued earlier this week remain on the CDC website as of Aug. 27.

"Everyone who needs a COVID-19 test, can get a test," Dr. Redfield's statement reads. "Everyone who wants a test does not necessarily need a test; the key is to engage the needed public health community in the decision with the appropriate follow-up action."

Dr. Redfield also said that anyone exposed to someone who is or may be infected should "strictly adhere" to public health guidelines, like social distancing, mask wearing, avoiding crowded indoor spaces and frequently washing hands.

Health experts expressed confusion and concern about the guideline change, noting that many people spread the virus to others before symptoms appear, reports the Times. Click here for more reactions to the guideline change.

More articles on public health:
Woman may be first person cured of HIV without treatment
Study offers early evidence of asymptomatic COVID-19 transmission on planes
US coronavirus death rates by state: Aug. 27


Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars