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CDC reverses course on testing for asymptomatic people who had Covid-19 contact

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Topic: CDC reverses course on testing for asymptomatic people who had Covid-19 contact

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says that close contacts of people with Covid-19 should be tested, regardless of whether they have symptoms — reversing controversial recommendations it made last month, reportedly over the advice of agency scientists.

CDC’s testing guidelines now bluntly counsel people who have been within six feet of a person “with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection” for at least 15 minutes to get screened. “You need a test,” reads the latest version of the document, released Friday.

“Due to the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, this guidance further reinforces the need to test asymptomatic persons, including close contacts of a person with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the guidance also says.

The agency came under fire from public health experts last month when it altered its testing guidelines to stop promoting testing to most asymptomatic people with extended exposure to someone with a confirmed infection. It left the decision about whether to test such people to state and local public health officials and health providers.

In addition to recommending testing for close contacts of sick people, the CDC now says that contacts should self-quarantine at home for 14 days, even if they test negative — and stay away from other household members in a separate bedroom if possible.

“A single negative test does not mean you will remain negative at any time point after that test,” the new CDC guidelines warn. “Even if you have a negative test, you should still self-isolate for 14 days.”

Topic Discussed: CDC reverses course on testing for asymptomatic people who had Covid-19 contact