Testing of asymptomatic persons is most useful when used to control outbreaks in distinct groups such as residents or staff of congregate living settings such as skilled nursing or assisted living facilities or correctional facilities. In these settings, results help to identify potentially infectious persons to stop the spread of COVID-19 in specific populations.
CDPH also recommends testing of hospitalized asymptomatic patients prior to entry into skilled nursing facilities to prevent outbreaks in these settings.
Outside of these situations, routine PCR testing of asymptomatic patients or staff should be avoided. A result from such testing only reveals a person’s status at a single point in time. This information is of uncertain benefit when exposure risk is ongoing.