CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WDVM) — West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito pressed CDC Director Robert Redfield and two Health and Human Services assistant secretaries on their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senator Capito joined the hearing virtually to comply with CDC quarantining guidelines after coming into contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. She pressed Dr. Redfield on matters like the guidelines for quarantining, testing on college and university campuses, and the rise of substance abuse during the pandemic.
Senator Capito questioned Dr. Redfield about the success that self-isolation and quarantine have achieved in regards to containing the spread and whether he recommends testing people as they conclude their quarantine period.
Dr. Redfield commended the West Virginia Senator, thanking her for setting a positive example and embracing the quarantine guidelines.
Redfield did counter Capito’s question by stating that she may have misinterpreted some of the changes that were made to the quarantine guideline. He stated that “the whole purpose of those guidelines was to engage the public health and medical community back into the decisions when people get tested.”
Redfield also went on to highlight that it could be a number of days before a person can test positive for the novel coronavirus.
Senator Capito then questioned Admiral Brett Giroir, one of the assistant secretaries of HHS, about the plan to test and accommodate college students returning to campus. Admiral Giroir stated that universities usually have a better ability to carry out a large number of tests, ones that could potentially deliver rapid results. He also highlighted that many universities have been granted a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment or CLIA waiver in order to begin research the disease as well as work towards finding a vaccine.
Senator Capito has been a longtime advocate to combat the opioid crisis. She emphasized that the administration must keep their eye on the crisis as the number of overdoses and overdose deaths rose at an alarming rate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Redfield stated that the isolation as well as the increased anxiety of the current state of the country has contributed to the increase in the severity of the opioid crisis. He also emphasized that during this time of isolation, people who have been affected by or are currently struggling with addiction have not been able to access the resources that they need to improve.