This is a collaborative post by Maria about COVID-19 testing.
You’ve followed the CDC’s latest guidance for businesses, rearranged your workplace to be social distancing compliant, and directed your eligible employees to work from home during the pandemic. But how can you keep your onsite staff healthy?
Testing is without a doubt the best way to detect an infection early and prevent the virus from spreading among your staff – especially if the person who brings it into the workplace is an asymptomatic carrier. Let’s talk about what COVID-19 testing options businesses have.
What Are COVID-19 Testing Solutions For Businesses?
Taking temperatures at the door
A thermal scanner is an easy-to-use handheld device that can detect if someone is running a fever. All you need to do is point it at your employee’s forehead and press a button for an instantaneous read of their temperature.
It’s important to remember that exertion can cause elevated skin temperature. Employees who are still running a fever after being given the opportunity to cool down should not be allowed to enter the workplace and instead go get a COVID-19 test.
- Top tip: Although thermal scanners are simple to use and affordable, they won’t catch the virus in people who haven’t developed a fever or who are asymptomatic.
Have your employees self-certify
You can also rely on your staff to get tested if they have been exposed to someone with the virus, or if your employee has symptoms of COVID-19. With this option, your employees must visit a clinic or a community testing center and report the results of their test to you.
- Top tip: Self-certification is most effective if everyone gets tested; however, resistant staff, employees who want to avoid lost days at work, and delays in results due to backlogs at laboratories may cause COVID-19 to enter your workplace.
Order DIY testing kits for your staff
DIY testing kits are another way to screen your employee for COVID-19. With this option, you will need to order DIY COVID-19 testing kits, have participating staff sign waivers, and administer the kits themselves. You will be responsible for collecting, packaging, and shipping the tests to the laboratory. You will also be responsible for sharing the results with each employee.
- Top tip: Ordering DIY testing kits for your staff can help you ensure your staff is COVID-19 free with an orderly, streamlined process. However, DIY rapid antigen tests are not yet available for public use, and antibody tests must be performed by a licensed medical professional.
Get COVID-19 tests at your office with a medical service
If you want to provide tests at your office but don’t want to deal with the hassle of having your staff self-administer tests, shipping, or discussing test results with your staff, you can always opt for a medical service to help. Onsite corporate COVID-19 testing by Concierge MD LA brings tests to your place of business, where certified nurses set up in a designated area to perform tests for all participating staff.
- Top tip: A medical service can provide rapid antigen tests for results within 15 minutes, as well as the antibody test. You can rest assured that all tests are performed correctly for the most accurate results possible.
Types Of COVID-19 Tests
Onsite COVID-19 testing at your workplace is a convenient way to test your employees in an organized and streamlined way, helping keep your workplace safe for staff and customers alike. There are two testing options for active infections: the RT-PCR test and rapid antigen test.
The RT-PCR nasal swab test must be sent to a lab for processing, and results are generally available within 3 business days. This type of test is considered to be the most accurate option.
The rapid antigen test is processed onsite and can give you results within 15 minutes of your appointment. This test may be administered as a nasal swab or throat swab. Although this test is very accurate, it does have a higher rate of false positives and false negatives (incorrect results) than the RT-PCR test.
In addition to tests for active infections, you can also offer antibody tests with an in-office medical provider. Unlike RT-PCR and rapid antigen tests, the antibody blood draw test detects a past infection and is administered as either a blood draw or finger stick. Samples must be sent to a lab for processing, and results are generally available within 3 business days.
**It’s important to note although you CAN offer antibody tests, businesses and employers CANNOT require an employee to get an antibody test.**
Where can I learn more about employer and employee COVID-19 testing rights?
Both employees and employers have rights in regards to COVID-19 testing. You can learn more about expectation and what can and cannot be required on the EEOC’s COVID-19 testing guidance page.