On August 24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed some recommendations on COVID-19 testing. The new CDC guideline says:
“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.” (1)
In response to the CDC, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) issued the following statement:
“The Washington State Department of Health’s guidance around testing has not changed: if you have symptoms, you need to get tested. If you’re a close contact of a confirmed case, you need to get tested. Close contacts of confirmed cases also need to stay at home away from others (quarantine) for 14 days after the last exposure even if they test negative for COVID-19, because it is possible for people who test negative to still be incubating the virus, and become contagious later.” (read the press release here.)
Because the CDC guidelines say that state and local public health officials should make decisions about local testing, Okanogan County Public Health would like to emphasize that our recommendations on testing have not changed (3). If warranted in the future, changes to testing recommendations will be based on local information and data.
Okanogan County Public Health recommendations for testing have not changed:
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you need to get tested and follow isolation guidance from your healthcare provider and public health.
- If you’re a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19, you need to get tested and please stay at home and away from others (quarantine) for 14 days after the last exposure. Even if you test negative, it is possible for people who test negative to still be incubating the virus, and become contagious later.
Call your healthcare provider to learn where and how to get tested for COVID-19. If you do not have a healthcare provider, we have a list of providers offering COVID-19 testing here.
1. Overview of Testing for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), updated Aug 24, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/testing-overview.html
2. Washington State Department of Health, News Release, Aug 26, 2020. https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/1350/COVID-19-testing-still-advised-for-people-with-symptoms-and-close-contacts-of-confirmed-cases
3. Okanogan County Public Health, Guidance on COVID-19 Testing. https://okanogancountycovid19.org/symptoms-testing/
4. Okanogan County Public Health, Where to get Tested. https://okanogancountycovid19.org/symptoms-testing/