That would be good news for people suffering from symptoms or those who have definitely come into contact with someone with coronavirus.
But it could mean longer delays for those looking for the test results before returning to work, returning to school or visiting friends or family.
“As the country continues to struggle to provide laboratories with a supply of reagents, carriers of viruses, plastics (such as pipettes) and other items needed to provide both We recommend that the Government consider updating its testing priority guidelines to ensure that limited available testing resources are available to those in need of COVID-19 and not COVID-19. Medically ordered test requests and those identified by well-defined public health monitoring efforts. “
Ideally, the results should be sent within 24 hours of the coronavirus test, the Trump administration’s test director said. The Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on the letter.
Who will have priority to test and who will not?
Medical groups recommend that “people with COVID19 symptoms, those already known to have been exposed to COVID-19 and those requiring pre-procedure testing” should have access to rapid test and screening results. .
“As the significant increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases created a significant need for new tests, we also saw an increase in testing for people who had no symptoms and no need for testing. medically ordered testing services ”.
“These include tests for employees returning to work, students returning to colleges and universities, and individuals wanting to participate in unnecessary travel.”
And without the improvement in availability, “we simply don’t have the resources to meet the huge testing needs of asymptomatic people without exposure to COVID-19. “, the groups write.
“We still hope that the US will soon be able to ramp up production to meet the needs of everyone wishing to test COVID-19. However, until production can meet demand yet. With our experience in testing services, it is important that we prioritize our testing resources where they are needed most. “
How great the delay makes some tests useless
“They call it the pre-symptom phase. So people tend to have more viruses at that point seemingly in their nose, in their mouth. This is even before they get sick. they can put that virus into the environment. “
In June, after a crowd of young people was seen playing without masks, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force called on all millennials to get tested.
Dr. Deborah Birx said: “Thank millennials for taking notice of our guidance, they went ahead and experimented.
“While we used to tell them to stay home, now we ask them to get tested. And this is a big change for us because it allows us to find mild illnesses and no symptoms. evidence we couldn’t find before. “
But since then, the test capabilities have not kept up with demand.
At the end of July, the Trump administration’s test director said while testing capabilities have improved, “we will not stop our efforts until testing is exactly where we want it to be. quick turnaround time. ”
Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Institute of Global Health, said at that point the screening would be “in vain”.
By the end of July, if the faster trial was to be widely available, he said, “we can reverse this epidemic, and we can bury it and get a very low number of cases.”
CNN’s Naomi Thomas contributed to this report.