Onsite Workplace COVID-19 Screening & Testing

Americans want to feel safe at work.

The global pandemic continues to dominate the news as many Americans return to work.

Employers need a plan.

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Covid_Workplace

The Cost of NOT Testing

  • 10-day quarantine

  • Up to 2 Weeks Paid Leave (FFCRA)

  • Lost Production

  • Healthcare Expenses

  • Workers Comp Claims

  • Exposure to the Workforce (and their families)

  • Risk of Shutdown

COVID-19 Testing at Workplace: It’s Not a Matter of Personal Privacy. Read More>>

Early detection saves lives. And businesses.

InOut Labs’ employee screening process helps detect both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.

COVID-19 symptoms appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Temperature checks alone are a start, but a fever may not show up right away. And by the time an individual has a COVID-related fever, s/he has been infected for as long as 2 weeks.

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COVID-19 Testing Options for the Workplace

PCR (Molecular) Test – For Active Infections

Molecular tests (also known as PCR tests) detect genetic material from the virus. The PCR viral test is the current gold standard for detecting active infection.

  • Results in 2-3 Days
  • Painless Nasal Swab (Self administered. NOT the brain probing nasal pharyngeal swab)
  • Detects active infection in pre-symptomatic and symptomatic period

Important Information: These tests are not yet approved or cleared by the FDA. No currently available COVID-19 tests are FDA approved or cleared.

When there are no FDA-approved or cleared tests available, and other criteria are met, the FDA can make tests available under an emergency access mechanism called an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

The EUA for these tests is supported by the Secretary of Health and Human Service’s (HHS’s) declaration that circumstances exist to justify the emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for the detection and/or diagnosis of the virus that causes COVID-19.

This EUA will remain in effect (meaning this test can be used) for the duration of the COVID-19 declaration justifying emergency of IVDs, unless it is terminated or revoked by FDA (after which the test may no longer be used).

FAQs

Most test results arrive in 2-3 days.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says “Yes.”

Lots of good information at the link above. The relevant section is excerpted below.

A.6. May an employer administer a COVID-19 test (a test to detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus) before permitting employees to enter the workplace (4/23/20)

The ADA requires that any mandatory medical test of employees be “job related and consistent with business necessity.” Applying this standard to the current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers may take steps to determine if employees entering the workplace have COVID-19 because an individual with the virus will pose a direct threat to the health of others.

Therefore an employer may choose to administer COVID-19 testing to employees before they enter the workplace to determine if they have the virus.

Consistent with the ADA standard, employers should ensure that the tests are accurate and reliable. For example, employers may review guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about what may or may not be considered safe and accurate testing, as well as guidance from CDC or other public health authorities, and check for updates. Employers may wish to consider the incidence of false-positives or false-negatives associated with a particular test. Finally, note that accurate testing only reveals if the virus is currently present; a negative test does not mean the employee will not acquire the virus later.

Based on guidance from medical and public health authorities, employers should still require – to the greatest extent possible – that employees observe infection control practices (such as social distancing, regular handwashing, and other measures) in the workplace to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

No.

The FAQS ABOUT FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT AND CORONAVIRUS AID, RELIEF, AND ECONOMIC SECURITY ACT IMPLEMENTATION PART 43 June 23, 2020, excerpted below, answers that question directly:

Q5. Is COVID-19 testing for surveillance or employment purposes required to be covered under section 6001 of the FFCRA?

No. Section 6001 of the FFCRA requires coverage of items and services only for diagnostic purposes as outlined in this guidance. Clinical decisions about testing are made by the individual’s attending health care provider and may include testing of individuals with signs or symptoms compatible with COVID-19, as well as asymptomatic individuals with known or suspected recent exposure to SARS-CoV-2, that is determined to be medically appropriate by the individual’s health care provider, consulting CDC guidelines as appropriate. However, testing conducted to screen for general workplace health and safety (such as employee “return to work” programs), for public health surveillance for SARS-CoV-2, or for any other purpose not primarily intended for individualized diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19 or another health condition is beyond the scope of section 6001 of the FFCRA.

EEOC Confirms Employers Cannot Require Return to Work COVID-19 Antibody Tests.

A.7.  CDC said in its Interim Guidelines that antibody test results “should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace.” In light of this CDC guidance, under the ADA may an employer require antibody testing before permitting employees to re- enter the workplace? (6/17/20)

No. An antibody test constitutes a medical examination under the ADA. In light of CDC’s Interim Guidelines that antibody test results “should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace,” an antibody test at this time does not meet the ADA’s “job related and consistent with business necessity” standard for medical examinations or inquiries for current employees. Therefore, requiring antibody testing before allowing employees to re-enter the workplace is not allowed under the ADA.  Please note that an antibody test is different from a test to determine if someone has an active case of COVID-19 (i.e., a viral test).  The EEOC has already stated that COVID-19 viral tests are permissible under the ADA.

The EEOC will continue to closely monitor CDC’s recommendations, and could update this discussion in response to changes in CDC’s recommendations.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/testing-non-healthcare-workplaces.html

Testing asymptomatic individuals without known or suspected exposure to SARS-CoV-2 for early identification in special settings.

Viral testing of workers without symptoms may be useful to detect COVID-19 early and stop transmission quickly, particularly in areas with moderate to substantial community transmission. When communities experience moderate to substantial transmission, workplace settings for which these approaches may be considered include:

  • Workplaces where physical distancing is difficult and workers are in close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with co- workers or the public
  • Workplaces in remote settings where medical evaluation or treatment may be delayed
  • Workplaces where continuity of operations is a high priority (e.g., critical infrastructure sectors)
  • Workplaces providing congregate housing for employees (e.g. fishing vessels, offshore oil platforms, farmworker housing or wildland firefighter camps)

Approaches may include initial testing of all workers before entering a workplace, periodic testing of workers at regular intervals, and/or targeted testing of new workers or those returning from a prolonged absence. Several factors may be helpful in determining the interval for periodic testing including:

  • The availability of testing
  • The latency between exposure and development of a positive SARS-CoV-2 viral test
  • Businesses that fall into one of the workplace categories described above
  • The rate or change in rate of people getting infected in the surrounding community
  • How many employees tested positive during previous rounds of testing
  • Your relevant experience with workplace outbreaks

State, local, territorial, and tribal health departments may be able to provide assistance on any local context or guidance impacting the workplace. Before testing a large proportion of asymptomatic workers without known or suspected exposure, employers are encouraged to have a plan in place for how they will modify operations based on test results and manage a higher risk of false positive results in a low prevalence population.

For Information

Number of people to be tested*

Testing frequency*