CDC releases 'clarification' on testing guidelines

CDC releases 'clarification' on testing guidelines

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'You need a test' if you've had contact with someone with COVID-19, CDC says.

September 18, 2020, 6:18 PM

• 2 min read

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance on who should be tested for the virus that causes COVID-19, specifying that asymptomatic people who have come in contact with an infected person should get tested and quarantine for 14 days -- reversing guidance released last month that said testing might not be necessary for people without symptoms.

The earlier guidance caused alarm in the public health community that data would give an incomplete picture of outbreaks around the country, and The New York Times reported this week that it was published by the Department of Health and Human Services without approval from experts at the CDC.

It said that if a person came in contact with someone infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 "you do not necessarily need a test" if you don't exhibit any symptoms, but that local public health officials or health care providers might still recommend one.

The change that was published Friday reverses that language, saying directly that if someone has been in close contact with a person with COVID-19 infection "you need a test" and to self-isolate for 14 days, even if the test is negative.

Brett Giroir, the top official at the Department of Health and Human Services, pushed back on the Times report Friday.

“This was a CDC document and we will continue to clarify because I want people to know that if you are asymptomatic you can still spread the virus and we want them to be tested,” he said in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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