(CNN) – There are fewer coronavirus tests in the United States than at previous points in the pandemic. However, health officials are working to restore those numbers.
In a discussion organized on Tuesday by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said there are plans to expand testing capacity in the United States and are underway. To improve access to this.
In a briefing to the White House Covid-19 response team on Monday, the White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator, Jeff Zentes, said the federal government has told states it is ready to help increase testing capacity.
“Last week we assured all governors that we are ready to help them respond to this moment, whether through more testing, increased treatment, access to and acceptance of vaccines or other state-specific needs,” he said.
The average 7-day retest is now just over 584,000 per day, up from more than 1.5 million per day six months ago and about 900,000 per day a year ago, according to Department of Health and Human Services data. from the United States of America
Dr. Patrick Goodby, president of the College of American Pathologists, agreed that more testing was needed.
“I think more evidence is a good thing, for many reasons. One of the important things to remember is, first, that bad information is worse than no information,” Goodby told CNN.
“When we talk about testing, we have to remember that not all tests are the same. And we must have reliable and accurate tests. That has always been and continues to be important to dealing with this epidemic. The fundamental question is, do you or do you have it? No? Only good testing can to answer that question.”
Testing at this point in the pandemic takes many forms, including a home test performed alone or with a virtual assistant, or a test administered by a doctor or pharmacist. The “gold standard” for COVID-19 testing is the rt-PCR test, which is a type of nucleic acid amplification test that detects viral RNA.
The PCR test is what the CDC uses to assess community positivity rates, or the percentage of positive tests in the community, which is usually a county.
“The risk of a person becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 is directly related to the risk of exposure to infected persons, which is largely determined by the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in the surrounding community,” the CDC said in a statement. Latest guidelines for COVID-19 prevention strategies.
The agency uses the percentage of positive PCR tests in an area combined with the weekly number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people to assign communities a low to high transmission level. Transmission levels are then incorporated into decisions regarding COVID-19 mitigation efforts in an area.
PCR tests are also what Godbey would have in a scenario where an immune person is concerned about being exposed to COVID-19.
“I would like to do a DNA amplification test. I would like it to be done in a lab close to home so I can get the results quickly,” he said.
According to guidelines released by the CDC last week, people vaccinated for COVID-19 should be tested three to five days after “known exposure” to the virus. The guidance is a change from the agency’s previous recommendation that vaccinated individuals do not need to be tested for COVID-19 after exposure unless they develop symptoms.
“The advantage of having a vaccine prevents you from getting seriously ill. It doesn’t mean that you can’t harbor the virus for some time. To keep it spreading, it’s important to get tested,” Godbey said.
Godbey said that some of the available testing options, such as over-the-counter tests, can present accuracy issues. To get an accurate result, the person being tested must follow the instructions “strictly”, and even then, environmental factors can interfere.
“If you buy it, put it in your car in Atlanta and then leave it in the car for a while, it gets over 100 degrees in the car. It can affect the accuracy of the test. Those who need to charge, you must be careful how you charge it” .
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