On Saturday, the FDA announced that it was giving laboratories and hospitals around the country permission to conduct tests for the novel coronavirus. Previously, all testing was done through the CDC in Atlanta, resulting in a several-day turnover time for results. Now, results may be back within 24 hours or less, which will greatly assist in spotting patterns of suspected or confirmed cases.
Capacity for testing will also increase greatly, with estimates that public health and academic labs will be able to test 10,000-20,000 samples a day by later this week. In contrast, up until this point, the CDC has conducted less than 500 tests. This is definitely a step in the right direction, especially after test kits shipped by the CDC to states in early February were later found to be flawed.