Houston Texas Mayor announces expansion of coronavirus testing to those without symptoms

This recent article by published by Click2Houston.com published on April 14, 2020 reports that ” All Houstonians can now be tested for COVID-19, regardless if they show symptoms of the virus” for free.   This is important because it provides yet another example of how some communities in the US and around the world are courageously adapting and/or modifying testing criteria in order to adopt innovative approaches to address their unique and emerging COVID 19 needs just as the current CDC guidelines re: testing criteria plainly recommends.  The article highlights that:

Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Monday the city is offering free testing to anyone, including asymptomatic carriers, at its two drive-thru locations.”

The Miami Herald also  reported on April 13, 2020 that “Everyone on exclusive Fisher Island, even the staff, can get tested for coronavirus.”

While the CDC has provided guidance on their website there is currently a highlighted caption at the top of their page that reads:  “CDC guidance for COVID-19 may be adapted by state and local health departments to respond to rapidly changing local circumstances:”


PRIORITY 1  Ensure optimal care options for all hospitalized patients, lessen the risk of nosocomial infections, and maintain the integrity of the healthcare system

  • Hospitalized patients
  • Symptomatic healthcare workers

PRIORITY 2  Ensure that those who are at highest risk of complication of infection are rapidly identified and appropriately triaged

  • Patients in long-term care facilities with symptoms
  • Patients 65 years of age and older with symptoms
  • Patients with underlying conditions with symptoms
  • First responders with symptoms

PRIORITY 3    As resources allow, test individuals in the surrounding community of rapidly increasing hospital cases to decrease community spread, and ensure health of essential workers

  • Critical infrastructure workers with symptoms
  • Individuals who do not meet any of the above categories with symptoms
  • Health care workers and first responders
  • Individuals with mild symptoms in communities experiencing high COVID-19 hospitalizations


  • Individuals without symptoms


Again, notice the caption at the top of their page says “CDC guidance for COVID-19 may be adapted by state and local health departments” – not must be adopted.  Keep in mind the definition of adapted is:  make (something) suitable for a new use or purpose;  modify;  adjust to new conditions; and  alter (a text) to make it suitable.  In other words the guidance appears to suggest that user discretion is advised.