CDC Statement on Testing Guidance

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

CDC recently updated some of our testing guidance to reflect updated recommendations as to who should be tested. These updated guidelines, formulated through the White House Task Force, received appropriate attention, consultation and input from task force experts.

We are placing an emphasis on testing individuals with symptomatic illness, individuals with a significant exposure, vulnerable populations  including nursing homes or long term care facilities, critical infrastructure workers, healthcare workers and first responders, or those individuals (who may be asymptomatic) when prioritized by medical and public health officials.

Testing is meant to drive actions and achieve specific public health objectives.  Everyone who needs a COVID-19 test, can get a test.  Everyone who wants a test does not necessarily need a test, the key is to engage the needed public health community in the decision with the appropriate follow-up action.

  • Testing may be considered for all close contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients.
  • Those contacts who test positive (symptomatic or asymptomatic) should be managed as a confirmed COVID-19 case.
  • Asymptomatic contacts testing negative should self-quarantine for 14 days from their last exposure (i.e., close encounter with confirmed or probable COVID-19 case)
  • If testing is not available, symptomatic close contacts should self-isolate and be managed as a probable COVID-19 case.
  • Asymptomatic close contacts who are not tested should self-quarantine and be monitored for 14 days after their last exposure, with linkage to clinical care for those who develop symptoms.

Anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 patient should following the following mitigation strategies:

  1. Monitor symptoms
  2. Self isolate
  3. Wear a mask
  4. Stay at least 6 feet apart
  5. Wash hands
  6. Talk to health care provider or public health officials to determine if test is needed

CDC will continue to recommend the following measures to mitigate the spread of the virus and to protect vulnerable populations: physical distancing, wearing a mask when social distancing is not possible, avoiding crowds, avoiding indoor crowded spaces, and washing or sanitizing hands frequently.


CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether disease start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.