CDC updates SARS-CoV-2 testing recommendations

April 28, 2021

Given that significant numbers of people in the United States are vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its recommendations for SARS-CoV-2 testing, particularly for healthcare personnel.

Under the new recommendations, the CDC says people, regardless of vaccination status, should be tested if they have symptoms of COVID-19. In addition, asymptomatic healthcare personnel with a higher-risk exposure and patients or residents with prolonged close contact with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection, regardless of vaccination status, should have a series of two viral tests for SARS-CoV-2 infection. In these situations, the CDC recommends testing immediately and 5-7 days after exposure.

In healthcare facilities with an outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, recommendations for viral testing healthcare personnel, residents, and patients (regardless of vaccination status) have not changed. In nursing homes with an outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, healthcare personnel and residents, regardless of vaccination status, should have a viral test every 3-7 days until no new cases are identified for 14 days.

The CDC also said hospitals and dialysis facilities with an outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 should follow current recommendations for viral testing potentially exposed healthcare personnel and patients, regardless of vaccination status.

In nursing homes, unvaccinated healthcare personnel should continue expanded screening tests as previously recommended. At other healthcare facilities, however, fully vaccinated personnel who do not have a known exposure can be excluded from screening tests.

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