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Concerns From Health Experts Over State's New COVID-19 Testing Guidance

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Despite new guidance from the state which discourages some people from getting tested for COVID-19, the demand remains high as just last week the state saw more than 397,000 new cases.

"We just want to make sure that testing is going to be of clinical benefit," said Jeremy Redfern with the Florida Department of Health.

Under the direction of Governor Ron DeSantis, the Department of Health released new covid testing guidance, which surprisingly encourages many people to not get tested.

"If you're asymptomatic, maybe you were exposed but you're probably not sick, so you don't necessarily need a test because it's probably not going to improve your clinical outcome," said Redfern.

That's why he said the Department of Health is recommending only those with high risk factors get tested if exposed or showing covid symptoms. But, the move has sparked a lot of controversy with many health officials disagreeing with the recommendation.

"The guidelines that were put out are not public health guidelines," said Florida International University's infectious disease specialist, Dr. Aileen Marty. "The public health guidelines have to be about the health of the public."

Marty said COVID testing is necessary to control the outbreak.

"Here we have this highly contagious virus that is generally contagious before a person manifests symptoms and if we don't detect that by an appropriate test we're going to have more and more spreader events," said Marty.

She added that testing is necessary to help health officials allocate resources.

"We need to know that people have this virus and where they have it so that we have the necessary physicians and nurses, clinicians, emergency response personnel," said Marty.

It's not just important to know you have COVID but also which variant because that impacts treatment.

"We know without any question that Regeneron does not work for Omicron, it does work for Delta, so if you know you have Delta, Regeneron is a good treatment for that but if you have Omicron that's taking a risk without any benefit," said Marty.

State officials say despite the new guidance anyone who wants a free COVID test can still get one.

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