Experts say COVID-19 test drops are still necessary


March 5, 2021 – The recent drop in the number of Americans seeking testing for COVID-19 has put experts on alert. They emphasize that accurate and timely testing remains critical to treating and isolating individuals with COVID-19 infection. The extensive testing also allows tracking of the spread of the virus and any variables of concern as they emerge.

“Although it looks like things may have slowed a little with this pandemicRomney M. Humphries, during a Thursday briefing sponsored by the Infectious Diseases Association of America (IDSA), said it is still really important to get in and get tested, “especially for people who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19.”

Humphreys added: “If we do not test, we do not know the extent of the infection.”

“Although infection rates are much lower than they were a few months ago, they are still high,” said Mary Kay Hayden, MD, during the briefing.

The rates remain higher in some areas than they were during the summer of 2020, said Hayden, IDSA Fellow and Chair of Infectious Diseases and Director of the Division of Clinical Microbiology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

“So we’re still seeing a large amount of infection,” Hayden said. “I don’t think we’re in a place yet where we can really relax in our overall strategies and cut down on testing.”

Seat regain test for vaccination?

Although vaccinating more Americans is good news, COVID-19 is Vaccinations It may take limited attention and resources away from testing for COVID-19. “While the public may view vaccination as a priority right now, and it is a priority, widespread testing is still essential to fight the infection,” said Humphries, IDSA member and medical director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

Vaccination is replacing testing at some public health authorities and is partly responsible for the recent drop in test numbers. “Public health authorities may not have the bandwidth to run tests on a large scale and to do Vaccinations So they’re focusing on vaccination now, ”Hayden said.

Additionally, exhaustion among Americans suffering from a pandemic for more than a year may discourage some individuals from coming for the test. “I think a lot of people are over this epidemic,” Hayden said.

Initially, many people without symptoms or those with mild symptoms sought the peace of mind test. Although this is fictional, Hayden said, “It looks like we’re seeing a little bit of that now.”

Why is testing still necessary

With test numbers dropping, “are we really seeing a decrease in the number of cases?” Humphries asked.

She added that the test will help public health officials track the variables of importance and the variables of concern, in addition to measuring the success of vaccination and protection from previous infections.

The message remains that people with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should request testing. On an individual level, accurate and prompt diagnosis can promote appropriate treatment and help protect close contacts.

At the societal level, testing is the most accurate way to determine the extent of the Coronavirus spread in a specific community, to adjust quarantine requirements and obtain resources for areas where the disease has spread.

Additionally, Hayden said, a person whose test result is positive may be part of an important chain of transmission. In this case, Public Health Department officials can initiate contact tracing to limit transmission.

“Other than diagnostics, testing is an important tool to help us enroll people in clinical trials,” Humphries said.

An ongoing focus on COVID-19 can also help answer remaining questions: How many people have been previously infected with COVID-19 who have tested positive later? And if so, is the new infection the same or variable?

The test at home: rest with warnings

A number of home tests for coronavirus infection available under the Emergency Use Permit from the Food and Drug Administration could help increase the numbers of tests. Hayden said the variety of testing methods available will help “really do a lot of testing”.

She added that although some data indicate that the point of care test “is not as sensitive as some of the laboratory tests that we can perform, but again there may be other advantages over those.” More convenience and testing for people who otherwise might not go to the site General Test Examples.

Unlike federal and state test sites that routinely report positive test numbers, some at-home tests report results through the smartphone app, while others do not. Therefore, some home-detected positive cases can still go unmet, which is a concern that can increase as the use of home tests increases.

“We want to be able to process the results of this test,” Hayden said. Linking test results at home to a healthcare provider can strengthen counseling people based on their results.

Home testing can also block the genetic sequencing of samples to detect and track virus variants. Commercial and government laboratories often have enough sample left over after testing to further test the variables of interest.

“The truth is that getting those samples from people who have tested positive at home is highly unlikely,” said Humphries.

On the positive side, Hayden noted that although sample sequencing of variants remains important, the sequence of each sample does not have to be sequenced to track the spread of new variants.

Comfort cost?

Experts agree that incidental costs of $ 25 or more for in-home tests may be a barrier for some people. “I think the price point is a challenge. Actually, getting the price point down to a very low level would be a tough challenge,” Humphries said.

“The population most affected by COVID-19 will be those who will be the least able to afford this kind of price from a home testing perspective,” she added.

Even if testing for COVID-19 is more prevalent and accessible, Humphries said other concerns remain. “One of the challenges we’re facing is that there has been a lot of movement away from some really important control strategies that have been used to mitigate this pandemic.” Areas that open public spaces to full capacity or cancel mask authorizations, for example, “create a sense, I think, to the public that the pandemic is over.

She added, “This is not true in any way.”

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