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Governor Newsom: California won’t follow new CDC coronavirus testing guidance

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California Governor Gavin Newsom reacted Wednesday to the CDC's change in guidance.

After saying for weeks that asymptomatic people should be tested for coronavirus, the CDC now saying testing is not necessary for people who don't show symptoms.

"I don't agree with the CDC guidance period, full stop, and it's not the policy in the state of California," said Governor Newsom.

Not only will the state not follow the CDC guidance, there will actually be expanded testing in California.

The Governor's office announced a new partnership with a diagnostics company to provide up to 150,000 more tests each day in the state, with results provided in 24 to 48 hours.

The program is set to begin November 1st.

"We will not be influenced by the change. We're influenced by those that are experts in the field that feel very differently. With respect to the CDC that is not the policy we will adopt or embrace here in the state of California," said Newsom.

Regarding the CDC policy change, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services said in a written statement the guidelines are being updated to ensure testing is "used appropriately" and to emphasize testing for post clinical patients and testing for "public health reasons".

Testing for public health reasons does not necessarily exclude asymptomatic people.

Under the new CDC guidance, a person doesn't necessarily need a test unless they are a vulnerable individual or unless their doctor tells them to take the test.

People we spoke with expressed mixed opinions on the change.

"I just disagree with it, because if you don't test how do you know if it's out there. To me it really is a political thing," said Rancho Resident Rick Utchell.

"We should follow the guidelines of the CDC and shift the attention to the individuals who are showing symptoms," said desert visitor Daniel Delgadillo.

Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser was not available to comment on camera.

He issued the written statement in response to the change in guidance, saying the county's approach to coronavirus testing won't change.

"The current medical understanding indicates people may be infectious up to 48 hours before they show symptoms, and some infectious people will never show symptoms at all. While it's unclear how much these asymptomatic individuals contribute to community spread, we still need to find these cases, and we will only find them if we are testing asymptomatic individuals. As we get case numbers under better control, early testing will be critical to preventing outbreaks from snowballing.

The county continues to perform community testing and we don't foresee a change to our approach. As people get tested, we better understand where active infections are in the community and can then work to contain the disease through contact tracing, quarantine and isolation", wrote Dr. Kaiser.

Tom Tucker

Tom Tucker is a veteran broadcast journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. Learn more about Tom here.

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