The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course this week on public testing for COVID-19, leaving many medical professionals baffled or alarmed at the change.

The new recommendation that patients without symptoms of the coronavirus don’t need to be tested doesn’t surprise Douglas County Public Health Officer Dr. Bob Dannenhoffer. It’s a guideline already followed by health care professionals in Oregon.

“The updated CDC guidelines follow the Oregon guidance. People without symptoms generally don’t need to be tested, but might be tested if they work in a high risk area or if they’re part of an outbreak investigation,” Dannenhoffer said.

The CDC said there are exceptions including vulnerable people or health care professionals, where state or local public health officials may advise testing for the virus.

Meanwhile, the Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team reported one new positive test result Wednesday. There are 17 presumptive cases and 10 people still in isolation. The county’s total number of cases, which include presumptive and confirmed, is now at 173.

Two Douglas County patients are hospitalized and there have been two COVID-19-related deaths.

The state had 222 new cases Wednesday running the total to 25,571. There were six new deaths and the state has now had 433 COVID-19-related deaths.

Multnomah County had two deaths, Jefferson, Marion and Baker counties had one each, and in one case, residency has not been determined.

The Oregon Health Authority released its weekly report Wednesday today, which showed a 13% drop in daily cases for the week of Aug. 16 to Aug. 23. OHA recorded 1,704 new cases of COVID-19 cases — down from previous week’s tally of 1,963.

Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or e-mail at

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

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A Pew Research Center world survey found the U.S. and U.K. rated poorest for coronavirus pandemic response. The U.S. and U.K. – marked by "high levels of political polarization" – had the lowest approval ratings, at 46% and 47%, respectively.

Only 18% of U.S. respondents said their country is more united now, and 77% said they are more divided – by far the highest such percentage across the countries surveyed. In the U.S., "a patchwork of coronavirus-related restrictions reflects broad disagreement over the best path to economic recovery while mitigating the spread of the virus," according to the report.

Many countries, however, received strong ratings for how they have handled the outbreak. Australia and Denmark had approval ratings higher than 90%, according to Pew. Germany, South Korea and Sweden also received high marks for their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Denmark and Germany are among a handful of countries that have managed the pandemic comparatively well and have reopened schools, moves that have reinforced public confidence. In April, Denmark was the first country in Europe to reopen classrooms.

Countries that have successfully managed the coronavirus pandemic share certain approaches, according to research released this summer by the University of Texas. Australia, China, New Zealand, Taiwan and Vietnam aggressively enforced lockdowns and social distancing while quickly implementing contact tracing and free and widespread testing. "Countries that prioritized the opinions of their public health officials and scientists succeeded in avoiding mass death and widespread contagion," writes the study's author, Sundas Amer. "These stringent measures ensured that these countries were able to return to some form of normalcy relatively quickly. It is also clear that governments and local populations have to act in tandem to effectively tackle the coronavirus."

I'm Here to Fact-check Mike

At least we have you, Mike, whose multiple daily posts stand well above the political fray and serve to unite the community. Thank you.


The Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team reported 4 new coronavirus cases today. 80 test results were received today giving a one day positive test rate of 5%.

The Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team has reported 9 coronavirus cases over the past week and the 7-day positive test rate jumped to 1.7%.

The six counties surrounding Douglas County reported 31 new coronavirus cases today. There have been a total of 194 cases and 1 death in the six counties surrounding Douglas County over the past week.

The Oregon Health Authority reported 190 new coronavirus cases and 5 more deaths today. Today’s 7-day positive test rate for Oregon declined to 4.9%.


Throughout much of the coronavirus crisis, Americans who were in close contact with infected people received some straightforward guidance: get tested, regardless of symptoms. This week, those recommendations changed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly tweaked its guidance on COVID-19 testing Monday, making a change that could result in fewer people being tested and hinder contact tracing efforts. The guidance now states that healthy people who have been exposed to COVID-19 "do not necessarily need a test," as long as they don't have symptoms. That's a reversal from previous advice that clearly recommended testing for all close contacts of infected individuals, regardless of whether they had symptoms.

A New York Times article reported, "Two federal health officials said the shift came as a directive to the C.D.C. from higher-ups at the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services." If this is accurate, it suggests key decisions on matters of public health are being decided by Team Trump, not scientific experts at the CDC. It comes against a backdrop in which Donald Trump personally boasted to a group of supporters in June, "When you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people, you're going to find more cases, so I said to my people, 'Slow the testing down, please.'" In other words, Trump called for less coronavirus testing, and now the CDC has issued guidance that would discourage testing, even among Americans who've been in close contact with the infected.

And now we find out Douglas County hasn’t been following CDC’s previous guidance anyways, which is why Douglas County ranks 7th from last in testing in the state. The FDA, FBI, Post Office, Military, Secretary of State, Attorney General and now the CDC have all become political weapons of President Trump. The lives and safety of us Americans are mere afterthoughts.

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