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Who Should Get Tested?

“Updated guidelines are critical to manage the ever-increasing demand for COVID19 testing.” – American Medical Association

“Limited testing resources available [should be] directed at those with a medically indicated need for tests and those ID’ed by well-defined public health surveillance efforts.”

August 14, 2020

CNN – While some Americans wait several days or longer for Covid-19 test results, the American Medical Association and other groups want new federal guidelines to help fast-track those who need testing and results urgently.

That would be good news for those suffering symptoms or who were definitely exposed to someone with the coronavirus.

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But it could mean longer delays for those seeking test results before going back to work, returning to school, or visiting friends or family.

The AMA and several other medical groups wrote in a letter dated Tuesday to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

“Updated guidelines are critical to manage the ever-increasing demand for COVID19 testing, [since] no additional manufacturing capacity for many testing supplies is likely to be available through the remainder of this year.

“As the country continues to struggle to provide laboratories with a consistent supply of reagents, viral transport media, plastics (such as pipette tips), and other items essential to providing both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 testing, we recommend that the Administration consider updating testing prioritization guidelines to ensure that the limited testing resources available are directed at those with a medically-indicated need for tests and those identified by well-defined public health surveillance efforts.”

The Trump administration’s testing czar has said results ideally should be delivered within 24 hours of a coronavirus test. The Department of Health and Human Services did not respond Wednesday to CNN’s request for comment on the letter.

Who would get priority testing, and who wouldn’t?

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The medical groups suggested “those with COVID19 symptoms, those with known exposures to COVID-19, and those in need of pre-procedure testing” should have access to prompt testing and test results.

But even though some health officials have encouraged people without symptoms to get tested to help reduce asymptomatic spread, the massive demand for tests has created delays for those who already have symptoms or those who were directly exposed to someone with Covid-19 … Read more. 

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