CDC Updates Guidance on Diagnostic Testing, Issues Contact Tracing “Clarification
On August 24, CDC issued updated guidance, modifying its recommendations for the instances in which individuals should receive diagnostic (molecular or antigen) testing for COVID-19. The guidance changes include modifications to indicate that:
- Individuals who have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms and individuals who have been in a high-transmission area and have attended a public or private gathering of more than 10 people (without widespread mask wearing or physical distancing) “do not necessarily need a test,” unless they are a “vulnerable individual,” or their health care provider or state or local public health officials recommend that they receive one.
- Individuals who do not have COVID-19 symptoms and have not been in close contact with someone known to have a COVID-19 infection “do not need a test.”
Amid backlash from public health experts, on August 27, CDC Director Redfield made a further statement and offered “clarification” in a page relating to contact tracing guidance for health departments that “Testing should be considered for all close contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients.” Notably, the CDC did not alter its underlying testing guidance or recommendations leaving further confusion.