HHS Secretary: No Coronavirus Spike in Reopened Areas, Only Closed Areas

Posted: May 17, 2020 9:10 PM
HHS Secretary: No Coronavirus Spike in Reopened Areas, Only Closed Areas

Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

While cautioning it was still early, Health and Human Services Sec. Alex Azar said on Sunday that so far there has been no spike in coronavirus cases in areas beginning to reopen. In fact, the secretary noted, the spikes we are seeing are happening in areas that remain closed. 

"We are seeing that in places that are opening, we’re not seeing this spike in cases," Sec. Azar said on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday. "We still see spikes in some areas that are, in fact, closed."

Sec. Azar touted the importance of good surveillance and testing in allowing states the ability to safely reopen. 

"First, we need to have good surveillance. So we need to look for influenza-like illness and other respiratory disease. We have a great surveillance system for that. We look for spikes and early indicators. We have adequate testing capacity. We need to make sure anybody who is symptomatic is tested and that we have adequate asymptomatic surveillance in areas of greatest burden," Sec. Azar said. 

The secretary also described the appropriate response once a spike in cases is detected in a localized area. 

"Then we use the traditional public health tools to surge in there," the secretary explained. "We would test everybody there. We would do contact tracing and isolation. That’s where places like Georgia and Colorado, as they reopen, it’s these tools that allow us to be reopened, but do so in a safe way that lets the economy function but allows us to use the traditional tools of public health to move forward as we would with any other disease."

(Via CNN. Relevant portion starts at 2:50 mark)

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