Key Research Question: Are There Populations of Asymptomatic Individuals (e.g., Population Sampling; Congregate Living Including LTC, Vulnerable Populations; Patients Being Hospitalized, Those Associated with Outbreaks, HCWs) That Should Be Considered Priority for Screening for COVID 19 Infection (With RT-PCR), with the Goal of Surveillance and Preventing Spread Within These Populations?   [open pdf - 384KB]

Key Messages from the Evidence Summary: "[1] There is a paucity of high quality evidence around the impact and value of testing truly asymptomatic individuals within a given group or population. [2] There is an absence of evidence on when to swab asymptomatic individuals, what site, and how frequently to have effective, sustainable testing of asymptomatic people. [3] Early evidence around initiatives testing asymptomatic people (e.g., Iceland, Italy) have reported identification of asymptomatic cases in which the authors conclude that identifying these cases was vital to outbreak control. [4] In light of early evidence, different jurisdictions and specialties have suggested revised guidelines to include testing asymptomatic people within a given population, particularly in congregate living and risky work/living conditions when there is an outbreak. [5] It will be important to examine the impact of testing asymptomatic people as evidence becomes available, especially given it is unknown how infectious SARS-CoV-2 [severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2] is in asymptomatic cases."

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