SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — The new CDC guidelines that no longer recommend testing certain people who’ve come into contact with infected patients likely won’t lead to a big change in coronavirus testing here in South Dakota. Both the state health department and Avera Health say they’ll continue testing those patients who don’t show any COVID-19 symptoms, despite the CDC’s latest recommendation. Some in the medical community question the timing of the CDC’s new guidelines, as the state deals with a record caseload.
Avera Health says testing for the coronavirus is an important tool for keeping on top of the virus in South Dakota, despite the CDC now saying people exposed to the virus do not necessarily need a test unless they’re showing symptoms, are older or are medically vulnerable.
“In our opinion, the more testing that we do, the more people that we can identity early on before they spread it to others,” Vice-President of Avera Medical Group Clinical Quality Dr. David Basel said.
Dr. David Basel says he’s surprised that the CDC is recommending fewer tests, at a time when cases are rising in South Dakota and elsewhere in the Midwest.
“And so at the time that we’re seeing some signs that we may be starting to see an uptick we’re a little worried about now may not be the time to back off on the amount of testing that we’re doing,” Basel said.
The South Dakota Department of Health says the new guidelines reflect our changing understanding of the coronavirus.
“Everything about COVID has been evolving since the beginning of the pandemic, so I think people appreciate the fact that we continue to learn about the disease,” Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said.
But Dr. Basel says fewer tests will be counter-productive at a time when students are returning to school and cold and flu seasons are just around the corner.
Dr. Basel says, given the backlash from many in the medical community, he wouldn’t be surprised if the CDC guidelines regarding testing change again. The department of health said Thursday that the CDC may be re-evaluating their decision.