Onsite Testing Strategies for COVID-19
As a business owner or administrator, the onus to protect employees while in your workplace from the spread of the SARS-2-Coronavirus is on you.
Oftentimes, employers contact InOut Labs after they experience a workplace outbreak or exposure, which may be too late to contain the spread of infection. What they need is a proactive plan to consistently screen and test staff. InOut Labs provides strategies and programs to help companies reduce the incidence of COVID-19 infection in the workplace.
Employee Privacy and COVID Screening
Many employers hesitate to implement COVID-19 screening and testing programs because of HIPAA privacy concerns which restrict them from inquiring about employees’ medical conditions. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), issued new rules permitting employers to screen and test for COVID-19 as a condition of entering the workplace. In order to do so, employers must test all employees, or, if only certain employees are selected for testing, the employer must have a reasonable reason — such as testing employees who exhibit persistent coughs or other symptoms associated with the disease.
What COVID Test is Best?
Ideally, a screening and testing program intended to catch infections before an outbreak occurs requires frequent testing – weekly, if possible – of all individuals at a facility, whether or not they have symptoms.
Testing for COVID-19 falls into two general categories:
- Antibody tests (Also called serological tests) require a blood sample and test for previous infection or exposure.
- Viral diagnostic tests use either a swab or saliva which is collected by spitting into a test tube, to determine if someone has an active COVID-19 infection. Diagnostic tests cannot determine if someone was previously infected. There are two types of Viral diagnostic tests:
- An antigen test (also called a viral test), provides faster test results but is not as reliable as a molecular test when it comes to negative results. A positive result for any of these tests is likely to be accurate and allows diagnosis and treatment to begin quickly, while a negative result often requires further testing to confirm or overturn the initial result. Same-day test results are available for an antigen test.
- A molecular test (also known as a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) orRT-PCR test), is the gold standard for viral testing, Test results range from same day to more than a week. Test results are highly reliable.
According to Tim Thoelecke Jr, founder of InOut Labs, “For employers that want to be proactive, frequent antigen testing may be an effective way to detect infections before symptoms appear. This is the same type of testing many sports teams use to screen team members. Antigen testing is faster and less expensive than PCR testing.”
Testing Convenience Matters
Convenience makes it more likely that people will go and get tested. InOut Labs offers three options:
- Workplace testing
- At-home testing
- Site testing at InOut Labs
InOut Labs works with employers nationwide to protect their onsite and customer-facing employees from the spread of the SARS-2 Coronavirus. We can send technicians onsite, to client workplaces, and conduct temperature/symptom screening in addition to antibody or diagnostic testing, to help prevent employees from reporting to work with COVID-19 symptoms.
While many individuals may be asymptomatic (or pre-symptomatic) and not show symptoms of an active virus, some may have symptoms similar to those of the coronavirus and should stay home until a diagnosis can be confirmed. InOut Labs offers a COVID-19 test collection kit, sent directly to employees’ homes. The test detects the presence of the virus via a self-administered saliva kit, with most results available within two to three days. The at-home collection test kit has received Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
For employers preferring to send employees directly to our clinic and for individuals who prefer to get tested by a technician before traveling, visiting relatives, or returning home from school, we accept appointments for asymptomatic individuals at our Morton Grove, IL location. You can schedule an appointment by clicking here.
To date, there is no solution that can guarantee that COVID-19 will not impact your business. However, careful planning and implementation of different strategies can protect many more workers and help maintain business stability.
Employers or individuals interested in learning more about InOut Labs COVID-19 screening and testing programs can contact us at 833-723-7997.