The following article was originally published in the Ohio Capital Journal and published on News5Cleveland.com under a content-sharing agreement.
In a subtle yet key split from CDC guidance, Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday that people who have been exposed to the coronavirus but are not showing symptoms should seek testing.
Last week, the CDC updated its COVID-19testing guidance to say people who have had close contact with an infected person but are not showing symptoms “do not necessarily need a test” unless they’re vulnerable to the disease.
Prior CDC guidance said such people should get tested. Public health officials haveblasted the CDC’s decision, describing it as politically motivated to benefit President Donald Trump. At a June campaign rally, Trump explicitly urged officials to “slow the testing down” to artificially decrease case counts.
“I would say they should get tested,” DeWine said when asked about people without symptoms who have been exposed to COVID-19.
TheCDC estimates that 40% of all COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic. Experts say testing is the only way to isolate these unknowingly sick people and break the chains of transmission.
The change is significant, especially for schools and universities, where outbreaks are likely to occur in districts moving forward with in-person learning strategies. The CDC defines “close contact” as within six feet for about 15 minutes or longer.
Dan Tierney, a spokesman for the governor, clarified after DeWine spoke that asymptomatic people who have been exposed should call their primary care provider about a test or go to a nearby community testing site.
Guidance on the Ohio Department of Health website states says health care organizationscan order a test for anyone who wants one, but they can use their own discretion.
“Under our guidelines, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been exposed, are at higher risk, or showing no symptoms, anyone can get a test,” it states.
The Ohio State University devised an ambitious, mandatory system thattests 300 randomly selected students per day, regardless if they’re feeling any of the wide range of COVID-19 symptoms. Most colleges are only testing symptomatic students.
Further muddling its own advice, the CDC guidance also notes that exposed, asymptomatic people should follow guidance from state or local health officials.
Officials inIllinois,California andNew York have publicly distanced themselves from the new CDC guidance. They say if you have been exposed to the coronavirus, you should seek a test regardless of symptoms.
Admiral Brett Giroir, Trump’s appointed testing czar, said the impetus for the new guidance came from the White House. He said the decision was made to prevent people from testing too soon and obtaining a false negative result and an improper sense of security, according toThe BMJ.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.
Rebound Northeast Ohio News 5's initiative to help people through the financial impact of the coronavirus by offering one place to go for information on everything available to help and how to access it. We're providing resources on:
Getting Back to Work - Learn about the latest job openings, how to file for benefits and succeed in the job market.
Making Ends Meet - Find help on topics from rent to food to new belt-tightening techniques.
Managing the Stress - Feeling isolated or frustrated? Learn ways to connect with people virtually, get counseling or manage your stress.
Doing What's Right - Keep track of the way people are spending your tax dollars and treating your community.
We're Open! Northeast Ohio is place created by News 5 to open us up to new ways of thinking, new ways of gathering and new ways of supporting each other.
Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Ohio, a timeline of Governor Mike DeWine's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Northeast Ohio, and link to more information from the Ohio Department of Health, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the CDC and the WHO.
See data visualizations showing the impact of coronavirus in Ohio, including county-by-county maps, charts showing the spread of the disease, and more.
The CDC and the Ohio Department of Health are now recommending the use of cloth face coverings in public to slow the spread of COVID-19.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.