CDC withdraws request from FDA for Emergency Use for the RT-PCR Diagnostic Test

SACRAMENTO — Throughout August some of California’s largest employers – both private businesses and local governments—have announced that they will be following Governor Gavin Newsom’s lead in implementing employee vaccine and testing measures. 

After California implemented new vaccine verification and testing requirements for state and health care workers last Monday and then President Joseph Biden followed suit this past Thursday, employers have implemented similar measures for thousands of employees throughout the state and nationally.

In the rollout, Newsom stated that unvaccinated workers will be subject to at least one to two weekly COVID-19 tests and will be required to wear appropriate PPE. This requirement applies to high-risk congregate settings like an adult and senior residential facilities, homeless shelters, and jails. 

The new policy for state workers took effect on Aug. 2, and testing will be phased in over the next few weeks. The new policy for health care workers and congregate facilities will take effect on Aug. 9, and health care facilities will have until Aug. 23 to come into full compliance.

This push for vaccinations and testing is still in the wake of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announcement on Jul. 21 that after Dec. 31 of this year, the CDC will withdraw the request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel. The assay was first introduced in February 2020 for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 only. 

According to the CDC, the PCR test that has been used solely in San Luis Obispo County and nationally is inaccurate and could potentially risk false results. Therefore, they encourage laboratories to consider adopting a multiplexed method to facilitate the detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses. 

Along with the CDC’s information, it was also confirmed that the current testing for COVID-19 can not detect different strains such as the Delta variant. 

Throughout the nation, there has been a decline in the number of individuals getting vaccinated. This has led local government officials to create awareness campaigns to urge the public to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.   

To incentivize the residents of San Luis Obispo County to get vaccinated, the SLO County Public Health announced that starting on Aug. 2, anyone who gets their COVID-19 vaccine from a County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Clinic or mobile vaccination clinic will be eligible to receive a $25 gift card for each dose. Gift cards available will vary by clinic and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. 

“Increasing vaccination throughout SLO County is key to ending the pandemic, especially with the spread of the Delta variant,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer. “These incentives are a prompt to act now to protect yourself and your family with the vaccine. While I hope the gift cards are a helpful motivator, the true value is being protected from the cost and suffering of COVID-19.” 

For updates on COVID-19 in SLO County, visit or call the recorded Public Health Information Line at (805)788-2903.