UPDATE: After Storm of Criticism, CDC Director Reverses Course on COVID-19 Testing Again

CDC Head Redfield (GETTY)
Photo credit Getty
By KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO

In a shocking about-face, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced changes in federal guidelines in coronavirus testing -- a move an official says came "from the top down." Now, Dr. Robert R. Redfield says testing may be considered for all close contacts of confirmed or probable Covid-19 patients.”

According to CNN, the new guidelines suggest that asymptomatic people need not be tested, even if they've been exposed to someone with COVID-19. 

The change contradicts previous CDC policies that said that people with exposure should be tested. 

Redfield wrote the new statement Thursday in order to clarify his position, according to the New York Times.

“Testing is meant to drive actions and achieve specific public health objectives,” Dr. Redfield wrote. “Everyone who needs a Covid-19 test, can get a test. Everyone who wants a test does not necessarily need a test; the key is to engage the needed public health community in the decision with the appropriate follow-up action.”

In a statement to CNN, HHS Assistant Secretary Brett Giroir said: "This Guidance has been updated to reflect current evidence and best public health practices, and to further emphasize using CDC-approved prevention strategies to protect yourself, your family, and the most vulnerable of all ages."

Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo says the move is all about politics. 

Cuomo tweeted today saying, "The Trump administration has one COVID strategy: Denial. If you don’t take your temperature, you don’t have a fever. If you don’t test people for COVID, there are fewer cases. Now they are forcing the CDC to fall in line with this head-in-the-sand strategy."

The Trump administration has one COVID strategy: Denial.If you don’t take your temperature, you don’t have a fever.If you don’t test people for COVID, there are fewer cases.Now they are forcing the CDC to fall in line with this head-in-the-sand strategy.

— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) August 26, 2020

CDC has not publically commented on the change and according to CNN, all questions have been directed to the Department of Health and Human Services.

In a press conference in mid-July, President Donald Trump appeared to blame former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for lack of COVID-19 testing -- the new coronavirus had not infected a single human until late 2019 -- well into Trump's presidency.

"Biden and Obama stopped their testing," Trump said. "I'm sure you don't want to report it," Trump added to the reporter who asked about the president's assertion that more testing equaled the reason why there were more coronavirus cases. 

A Pennsylvania -based company hopes to make a rapid at-home coronavirus test available by the end of the year.

“Essentially, it’s a lab on a swab,” said Stephen Tang, president and CEO of OraSure Technologies in Bethlehem. “(It) would quickly detect active COVID-19 infection at the point of sample collection.”

Unlike other rapid antigen tests available, Tang said OraSure’s test can be done without any other equipment or without sending a sample to a lab, ensuring immediate results.