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Coronavirus testing may not be needed in some cases after exposure: CDC

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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Daniella Genovese

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