Murphy, Cuomo, Lamont oppose new CDC recommendation to limit asymptomatic COVID-19 testing

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (Edwin J. Torres/Governor's Office)

In a joint statement issued Thursday, Governors Phil Murphy, Andrew Cuomo and Ned Lamont said their states will continue to prioritize asymptomatic testing in opposition of new recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"This 180-degree reversal of COVID-19 testing guidelines is reckless, and not based on science and has the potential to do long-term damage to the institution’s reputation," the statement read.

The CDC previously had advised local health departments to test people who have been within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes. But on Monday a CDC testing overview page was changed to say that testing is no longer recommended for symptom-less people who were in close contact situations.


There was a caveat, however. Testing may be recommended for those with health problems that make them more likely to suffer severe illness from an infection, or if their doctor or local state officials advise they get tested.

CDC officials referred all questions to the agency's parent organization, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. That suggests that HHS ordered the change, not CDC, said Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins University public health researcher.

“Health experts recommend testing close contacts of individuals with COVID-19 to identify and prevent asymptomatic spread. This type of robust testing by our states has been a key factor in our success so far to flatten the curve in the tri-state area," the Governors said.

New Jersey, New York and Connecticut combined have grappled with more than 680,000 coronavirus cases, according to the latest data. New Jersey and New York alone account for over 628,000 of those cases. Cases in each state have leveled off significantly since the virus peaked in March and April. 

Murphy and Cuomo have been advocates of testing and contact tracing since early on in the pandemic, which they credit to the declining rate of transmission and containment of the virus.

“New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will continue to follow the advice of health experts to contain and prevent the spread of COVID-19, and therefore will not be changing our guidance that prioritizes testing for this population," the statement closed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


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