The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday broadened the guidelines for coronavirus testing, allowing anyone who has symptoms like a fever, cough or difficulty breathing to receive a test if a doctor agrees.
Doctors were encouraged to first rule out other causes of respiratory illness, like influenza, and to take into consideration whether there are other local coronavirus cases, officials said.
Previous guidelines required a patient to have symptoms of respiratory illness as well as a clear route of exposure, such as recent travel to China or a number of other affected countries, contact with a known coronavirus patient, or hospitalization with a severe and unexplained respiratory illness.
The changes greatly expand the pool of patients who may qualify for diagnostic testing, even though testing capacity is limited. Experts said they feared a rush by the worried well who may flood the health care system, just as new private and hospital labs are getting off the ground.
Please check back for updates to this developing story.