JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Some infectious disease specialists call the Florida Department of Health’s guidelines for COVID-19 testing a recipe for disaster.
Those guidelines contradict the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The key differences in the guidelines come down to a focus on individual health and public health.
Let’s look at the key differences.
The CDC recommends people get tested if they had close contact with someone with COVID-19, have COVID-19 symptoms or if they are not fully vaccinated. The CDC’s point: People can spread COVID-19 even if they are asymptomatic. So testing is crucial.
Florida’s health department used to follow the CDC’s testing recommendations but now recommends COVID-19 tests only for symptomatic people with risk factors for severe COVID-19.
“You know, what’s going on I think a little bit, you’re seeing kind of both medical associations and states essentially beginning to go rogue against the CDC in response in part to some of the confusing recommendations that have been coming out of the federal agency,” said Dr. Jonathan Kantor, an epidemiologist with the Penn Center for Epidemiology.
Kantor says the fundamental argument that needs to be answered is whether testing asymptomatic people is of high value to public health.
”You know, the question there is a critical one because the issue is should we all be testing very, very frequently? I think it really does depend on the individual situation. I think certainly those who, as outlined in the Florida guidelines, are in a work situation where there is high risk or in a situation where they are at increased risk where there are reasons to be doing so, testing can certainly be helpful,” Kantor said. “You know, the flip side of that there is an attempt also to conserve testing.”
In reality, these are just testing recommendations and no one is limited from getting tested.