People without COVID-19 symptoms may not need to be tested even after exposure to the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a reversal of earlier guidelines.
In an update earlier this week, the CDC said, “You do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or state or local public health officials recommend you take one.”
The agency, in its relaxed testing guidelines, reiterated that if a test comes back negative, it does not mean someone will not “develop an infection from the close contact or contract an infection at a later time.”
Instead, those without symptoms but have been exposed should monitor themselves for symptoms, according to the CDC, which noted that people should contact a health care provider if their symptoms become severe.
The update is a reversal from its original recommendation that testing was appropriate for anyone suspected of being exposed to the virus even if they were asymptomatic.
“Testing is recommended for all close contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the guidelines previously stated as of July 17. “Because of the potential for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, it is important that contacts of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection be quickly identified and tested.”
In its Monday update, the agency stressed that “not everyone needs to be tested.”
For those that do, “you should self-quarantine/isolate at home pending test results and follow the advice of your health care provider or a public health professional,” the CDC said.
However, anyone with symptoms or who has been referred by a doctor should still get tested, the CDC said.