PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There’s more fallout from the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on coronavirus testing, with a growing number of COVID-19 outbreaks linked to large gatherings on college campuses, a motorcycle rally in South Dakota, and now, the Republican National Convention.
The American Medical Association is now calling for an immediate reversal of the new CDC guidelines that downplay the importance of testing. Here in Philadelphia, the push continues for expanded screenings and a new testing site with no restrictions will open on Monday.
The Green Street Friends Meeting House in Germantown will be a new location for COVID-19 testing, where there’s no need for a doctor’s note, insurance, or symptoms.
It’s being open by Philly Fighting COVID, a student-run nonprofit organization.
“We want to increase testing, not decrease testing,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said Thursday.
The Philadelphia Health Department, along with others across the country, are pushing back against the CDC, which changed its guidance to say people exposed who are asymptomatic do not need to get tested.
“If we stop testing contacts, we lose information about what’s going on in our own community,” Dr. Tom Inglesby, director at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said. “We know that something on the order of 40% to 50% of people with this disease in the United States don’t have symptoms.”
Here’s why it matters. On Day 1, “Person A” is in close contact with “Person B”. Ten days later, “A” finds out “B” has just been diagnosed with COVID-19. As early as Day 3, “A”, even without symptoms, could be infecting others.
If “Person A” goes into self-quarantine without being tested, those contacts may not be notified of their exposure to the coronavirus and may go on to infect others.
Case in point, the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. Health officials in Colorado say more than 20 cases of COVID-19 are now linked to the event. They’re calling for people who attended to get tested immediately.
Here in Pennsylvania, the health department has reported, on average, 622 new cases each day over the past week. That’s the lowest seven-day average in two months.