25 Mar Can Business Owners Reduce The Spread Of Covid-19 With DIY Testing Kits?
Although vaccine distribution is finally underway, the limited number of vaccines available means that “the New Normal” will continue for the foreseeable future. Business owners hit hard by the pandemic are looking for ways to resume and continue operating safely as soon as possible. Employee health monitoring makes sense, but burdening employees to find testing options amidst a shortage of tests, hours long lines, and the potential of contracting the virus while trying to obtain testing makes it seem like an unrealistic option. Are DIY kits for staff testing an effective option for employers?
Do DIY testing kits help reduce the spread of Covid-19?
Covid-19 testing for staff is an important tool to help identify employees who are sick but not showing symptoms, allowing them to quarantine before infecting coworkers. It also allows you to isolate and sanitize the infected person’s work area to ensure contaminated surfaces do not result in more people getting infected.
How do I know which employees to test?
The best testing policy you can have for the workplace would involve testing all workers on an ongoing basis. Not only does this allow you to prevent infected employees from infecting others, it also allows you to identify and resolve any weaknesses in your workplace safety plan (ie, increasing social distancing or sanitation practices.)
If you are unwilling or unable to implement regular testing for all employees, it is important to ensure testing for workers with Covid-19 symptoms, as well as workers who find out they were exposed to someone with a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19.
Which test should I choose?
When considering tests for employees, you should focus on those that detect current infections. There are two types of tests that do this: RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen tests.
- This test is the most accurate test for current Covid-19 infections available. It is administered via nasal swab within a few minutes. Once obtained, the sample must be provided to a lab for processing, returning a result in approximately 3 days. Rapid RT-PCR tests can return results within 30 minutes of the test.
- These tests can be purchased from labs in bulk as DIY kits, or can be obtained through on-site medical service providers who send nurses to your workplace to test your staff.
- Though rapid antigen tests are noted to be less accurate than RT-PCR tests, their 15 minute processing time makes them an appealing option. These tests are currently only available through medical service providers as development of DIY rapid antigen tests continues. This means that these tests can only be administered by medical professionals or on-site services like Concierge MD.
Understanding Covid-19 test results
First, you should know the four possible test results:
- True Positive: The test accurately detected the virus
- True Negative: The test accurately detected that the person did not have the virus
- False Positive: The test states it detected the virus, but the person tested is not infected
- False Negative: The test states it did not detect the virus, but the person tested is infected
To reduce the possibility of incorrect results, seek out tests with higher sensitivities and specificities.
What can employers do with Covid-19 test results?
Business owners must tread carefully when creating policies regarding Covid-19 testing. Some examples of EEOC guidelines are outlined below; for more information regarding employee rights and Covid-19, consult AARP’s guide here.
- Mandate Covid-19 testing for employees
- Send home any worker showing Covid-19 symptoms
- Require a doctor’s note stating that it is safe for a worker to return to the workplace
Employers may NOT
- Require employees to disclose self-certification test results
- Force a worker to test for previous infections (antibody test)
Avoid The Headaches With Concierge MD’s Workplace Testing
It’s clear that employee testing is a vital tool to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and keep businesses running. Whether you’re a large corporation, or a small business, CMDLA can help take the stress out of the test. Our expert nurses will bring all needed materials to administer the test and collect samples from your employees safely and efficiently.
In the event someone tests positive, one of our clinicians will consult with you and the employee to discuss test results and next steps to take. Contact us today to learn more about our services!