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Been in contact with a COVID-19 patient? No symptoms, no test, CDC says

Photo of the CDC. (Provided Photo/CNN)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – If an individual was in close quarters with a person recently diagnosed with COVID-19, yet is showing no signs or symptoms, there’s no longer a need to get tested, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

This is in direct contrast to the organization’s previous recommendations that testing be done for all people who’ve been within 6 feet of an infected patient for more than 15 minutes, regardless if they are asymptomatic.

The statement was updated on Monday and now reads:

If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes, but do not have symptoms, 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.

No explanation behind the CDC’s decision was provided, which has doctors concerned and questioning the decision.

“These are exactly the people who should be tested,” emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University, Dr. Leana Wen, said in an interview during CNN’s New Day on Wednesday morning. “I’m concerned that these recommendations suggest someone who has had substantial exposure to a person with COVID-19 now doesn’t need to get tested.”

Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, infectious disease specialist based in Palo-Alto, CA echoed this statement.

“This is potentially dangerous,” Kuppalli told The New York Times. “If you’re not looking for a lot of people who are potential spreaders of the disease…I feel like this is going to make things worse.”

According to the CDC, 40% of people are asymptomatic and approximately 50% of those with the virus can infect others before they occur. Health officials know the earlier a coronavirus infection is detected, the better the chances of survival.

News 8’s medical reporter, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Gillis, D.Ed., is a classically trained medical physiologist and biobehavioral research scientist. She has been a health, medical and science reporter for over 5 years. Her work has been featured in national media outlets. You can follow her on Instagram @reportergillis and Facebook @DrMaryGillis.

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