Yesterday, the CDC changed its guidelines for coronavirus testing. Previously, doctors were encouraged to only test patients who had travelled to high-risk areas (i.e. China, Italy, Iran, etc), had been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, or who had severe enough respiratory symptoms to require hospitalization. Now, the CDC is recommending that doctors use their individual judgment to determine if patients should be tested for COVID-19, regardless of any suspicion of exposure.
This seems appropriate in response to the disease being discovered in so many places, and seemingly moving within local communities. We expect the CDC’s recommendations to continue to change as we all learn more about the disease and how it is spreading in the U.S.
For example, the CDC also hosted a meeting yesterday with various telemedicine companies, including K. On the call we discussed how the entire medical community can better leverage telemedicine to help the U.S. healthcare system address a surge in volume and prevent disease spread. The CDC’s representatives indicated that telemedicine is likely to play a prominent role in containing the COVID-19 outbreak, and we can expect new guidelines on the role of telemedicine within the coming days.