CDC releases consolidated COVID-19 testing recommendations
June 13, 2020
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released consolidated recommendations for COVID-19 testing, including interim testing guidelines for nursing home residents and healthcare personnel, as well as testing strategy options for high-density critical infrastructure workplaces after a COVID-19 case is identified. These recommendations compile and update previous testing guidance.
The consolidated recommendations for testing, Overview of Testing for SARS-CoV-2, were developed based on what is currently known about COVID-19 and are subject to change as additional information becomes available. This document includes a summary of current CDC recommendations for testing people who
- have signs or symptoms of COVID-19;
- have no symptoms but recently had contact with someone known or suspected to have COVID-19;
- have no symptoms and no known contact with someone known or suspected to have COVID-19 but still may be tested for early identification in special settings;
- have had confirmed COVID-19 but no longer have symptoms; and
- may be tested by public health officials to track spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Testing Guidelines for Nursing Homes is an important addition to other infection prevention and control (IPC) recommendations aimed at keeping COVID-19 out of nursing homes (as well as other long-term care facilities), detecting cases quickly if they do occur, and stopping further transmission in these facilities. Nursing home residents are at high risk for infection, serious illness, and death from the disease. Updated recommendations include recommendation against testing the same individual more than once in a 24-hour period; consideration for testing residents with symptoms for other causes of respiratory illness, such as influenza; and coordination of repeat testing in response to outbreaks with local, territorial, and state health departments.
Outbreaks of illness among workers in food-producing facilities and surrounding communities have raised unique questions about testing for COVID-19. Critical infrastructure employers have an obligation to manage the continuation of work in a way that best protects the health of their workers and the general public. Appropriate workplace protections, such as engineering and administrative controls, for those present in the workplace should remain in place. In addition, CDC’s Testing Strategy for Coronavirus (COVID-19) in High-Density Critical Infrastructure Workplaces after a COVID-19 Case is Identified presents different testing strategy options for exposed co-workers when public health organizations and employers determine testing is needed to help support existing disease control measures. Such strategies can aid in identifying infectious individuals with the goal of reducing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the workplace.