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With major delays in testing, medical groups push for testing priority guidelines

August 14, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 15: St. John???s Well Child & Family Center workers prepare to test a woman for COVID-19 at a free mobile test clinic set up outside Walker Temple AME Church in South Los Angeles amid the coronavirus pandemic on July 15, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. A clinic official said most of the residents they are currently testing in their South Los Angeles clinics are Latinos. According to the California Department of Health, Latinos are currently 2.9 times more likely than white people to test positive for the coronavirus. California reported 11,000 new coronavirus infections today, the most in the state in a single day since the pandemic began. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

While some Americans wait a week or longer for test results, the American Medical Association wants new federal guidelines to help fast-track those who need results urgently. But it could mean longer delays for others who want coronavirus tests.

(CNN)While some Americans wait several days or longer for Covid-19 test results, the American Medical Association and other groups want new federal guidelines to help fast-track those who need testing and results urgently.

"Updated guidelines are critical to manage the ever-increasing demand for COVID19 testing," since "no additional manufacturing capacity for many testing supplies is likely to be available through the remainder of this year," the AMA and several other medical groups wrote in a letter dated Tuesday to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

The medical groups suggested "those with COVID19 symptoms, those with known exposures to COVID-19, and those in need of pre-procedure testing" should have access to prompt testing and test results.

But even though some health officials have encouraged people without symptoms to get tested to help reduce asymptomatic spread, the massive demand for tests has created delays for those who already have symptoms or those who were directly exposed to someone with Covid-19.

"As significant surges in new COVID-19 cases create significant demand for new tests, we are also seeing an increase in demand for testing of asymptomatic individuals with no medically indicated need for testing services," the letter said.

But as of early August, some people were waiting more than 10 days to receive test results -- meaning non-symptomatic carriers could be spreading Covid-19 to others.

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