25 Mar How To Use DIY Covid-19 Testing Kits For Employees
One of the latest tools used by employers to reduce transmission of the novel coronavirus in workplaces is bulk DIY Covid-19 testing kits. Paired with enhanced sanitation and social distancing practices, these kits are a convenient tool to add to any business’ workplace safety plan designed to keep staff healthy and operations running smoothly. Now that you have chosen to utilize these kits, you may be wondering what the best practices are in distributing them and collecting samples from employees.
It’s important to determine which employees have opted out of on-site testing prior to ordering kits. Not only does this help you determine the number of kits you realistically need, it also gives you time to make sure the appropriate waivers have been signed prior to kits being distributed. Once you have tests in hand and all waivers have been signed, consider the following practices as you plan for test day:
Timing is key
When creating your Covid-19 testing plan, it’s essential to allocate enough time for all samples to be completed, packaged, and sent out with the last mail collection of the day. Samples are time-sensitive, meaning that the longer samples sit prior to processing, the accuracy of the test will decrease. (If your local area has experienced significant mailing delays, you may wish to consider this when choosing the lab from which you will purchase bulk-tests.)
Provide an appropriate testing area
You will need at least one area designated where employees may self-administer their test. These testing spots should guarantee employees privacy. Additionally, these areas should be stocked with hygiene and sanitation supplies – not only for cleaning between employees, but also for employees to sanitize the test kit packaging. (Note: Some kits include alcohol pads for this purpose.)
To further reduce the possibility of spreading the virus, your testing area should have additional ventilation – an office or bathroom with open windows is an ideal place to provide as a test spot.
Educate your staff
You should review the instructions on how to take the test with staff before testing begins. This allows you to address questions or concerns in advance, rather than when you are trying to maintain operations and collect samples on a tight schedule.
How to use DIY Covid-19 testing kits
Once the testing area is designated and kits have been distributed, what does the actual testing process look like?
Employees should sanitize the testing area, their hands, and the collection package before performing the test
Tests are typically nasal swabs, but may also be throat swabs.
For nasal swabs:
- The swab is inserted into one nostril approximately 1 inch, or until you feel resistance
- Rotate the swab three times, and remove
- This process is repeated in the other nostril with a second swab
- Completed samples should be placed in the included packaging per the kit’s instructions
- Employees should re-sanitize the testing area, their hands, and the sealed sample after completing the test
When collecting the tests, be certain to use gloves and face masks when accepting samples from staff and packing them for laboratory processing.
Be mindful that this is just a general overview of the DIY testing process, and that practices vary between kits/labs. Any instruction indicated on your kit should supersede the advice outlined here.
What are the advantages of hiring professional medical services over DIY Covid-19 testing kits?
On-site medical service providers like Concierge MD are your professional Covid-19 employee testing option. Listed below are just a few reasons they are worth consideration:
- DIY tests are restricted from use in some states, and are not fully FDA-approved
- Supplies, test administration, sample collection, and lab submission are all provided and prepared by a medical professional
- The rapid antigen test, which delivers results in approximately 15 minutes, is only available to employers through medical providers
- On-site medical services generally include guidance regarding testing practices, as well as expert advice on what to do if someone tests positive
- Employees may be more motivated to participate in testing done by a nurse, and everyone can feel confident that samples were correctly collected
Know your employee’s rights
Balancing your employees’ needs with the needs of your business in these unprecedented times can be overwhelming. It’s important to know what you can and cannot do when tackling issues related to employee Covid-19 testing. Thankfully the EEOC has issued some guidance for employers.
Employers can NOT
- Require employees to take an antibody test – this is a blood test used to determine if someone who is currently healthy had Covid-19 in the past
- Require employees to provide or tell you about test results they obtained on their own time
- Require staff to get tested for Covid-19
- Send employees with symptoms home
- Require a doctor’s note before allowing an employee to return to the workplace
AARP provides more guidance regarding the employer-employee relationship during the pandemic here.
You should consult local guidance for your state when creating a plan for informing employees who were in contact with someone who tested positive. There are strict rules regarding what information may or may not be shared, and language you should use.
Concierge MD Can Help You Focus on Your Business
Concierge MD is an experienced on-site medical service provider that performs workplace Covid-19 employee testing for a wide range of businesses, from large corporate offices to small family establishments. Our aim is to use our medical expertise to make your workplace as safe as possible, so that you can focus on doing what you do best. Contact us today to learn about our progressive group and multiple test discounts!