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Humphries RM, Azar MM, Caliendo AM, Chou A, Colgrove RC, Fabre V, Ginocchio CC, Hanson KE, Hayden MK, Pillai DR, Pollock NR, Lee FM. To Test, Perchance to Diagnose: Practical Strategies for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Testing. Open forum infectious diseases. 2021 Apr 1; 8(4):ofab095.
Testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in symptomatic and asymptomatic patients is an important component of the multifaceted approach of managing the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Determining how to best define testing strategies for different populations and incorporating these into broader infection prevention programs can be complex. Many circumstances are not addressed by federal, local, or professional guidelines. This commentary describes various scenarios in which testing of symptomatic or asymptomatic individuals for SARS-CoV-2 virus (antigen or ribonucleic acid) can be of potential benefit. Consideration to pretest probability, risks of testing (impact of false-positive or false-negative results), testing strategy, as well as action based on test results are explored. Testing, regardless of setting, must be incorporated into overarching infection control plans, which include use of personal protective equipment (eg, masks), physically distancing, and isolation when exposure is suspected.