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Aug 4 (Reuters) - All patients undergoing non-emergency surgeries or medical procedures should get a PCR test for COVID-19 before getting operated, irrespective of their vaccination status, according to guidance from the American Society of Anesthesiologists on Wednesday.
The guidance comes as the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus sparks fresh infection outbreaks in the United States, especially in communities with low vaccination rates.
ASA, a network of over 54,000 anesthesiologists and researchers, said the updated guidance is critical as even fully vaccinated people, with or without COVID-19 symptoms, may potentially transmit the virus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month released data from a study of an outbreak in Massachusetts in which it said three quarters of those infected had been fully vaccinated.
"Considering the ongoing and evolving pandemic, all patients undergoing an anesthetic, procedure, or surgery with the potential to generate aerosols, should continue to have preoperative testing for SARS-CoV-2, ideally within three days prior to the procedure," ASA President Beverly Philip said in a statement.
The guidance, given jointly with the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, said if a patient tests positive for COVID-19, discretionary surgeries should be delayed until the patient recovers and is no longer infectious. (Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)