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Philadelphia Health Commissioner Reiterates Importance Of COVID-19 Testing After CDC Flip-Flops On Guidance

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- There's continued progress on the road to recovery as cases of COVID-19 are declining locally and nationally. As the CDC does another about-face on testing, the Philadelphia health commissioner reiterated the city's recommendation.

For the second time this week, the CDC issued new guidance for coronavirus testing. The flip-fops have caused an uproar in the medical and scientific community and prompted health departments to restate local testing guidelines.

"We want to increase testing, not decrease testing," Dr. Thomas Farley, Philadelphia's health commissioner, said.

Farley is going against CDC guidance issued Wednesday that said "if you have been in close contact but do not have symptoms, you do not necessarily need a test."

A day later, the director of the CDC issued another reversal and said asymptotic testing was OK.

"Here in Philadelphia," Farley said, "we are not changing our recommendations, which are anyone should be tested if, No. 1, they have symptoms of COVID, or No. 2, they've been exposed to someone with COVID, even if they have no symptoms. We want to identify as many people with the infection as possible so that we can do contact tracing and stop the chain of transmission."

Even Dr. Anthony Fauci has taken issue with the CDC's changing guidance, saying he was being operated on and not part of the discussion.

In Philadelphia, the goal is to increase testing from 3,000 a day to 5,000.

"Now we're getting consistently fewer than 100 cases per day reported to us," Farley said.

Farley says there's been a continued decline in coronavirus cases and fewer young people are testing positive.

"Today, 42% of the cases that came to us were under the age of 40, whereas a couple of weeks ago, that was statistically greater than 50%," Farley said.

Farley says the health department is working with local colleges and universities and while there have been scattered cases of COVID-19, there are no outbreaks on campuses at this time.

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