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June 28, 2020

Why is it Important For Businesses to get Their Employees Covid-19 Tested?

As the economy reopens, many businesses are now getting back to work as usual. Public health experts have emphasized mass testing to contain the spread of the virus as people go about their daily activities. However, there is little guidance on how employers should handle their employees to ensure that their workplace is Covid-19 free. While many companies have put protective measures such as disinfecting surfaces, social distancing, wearing masks and checking temperatures, there is still a need to test workers for the virus, given the fact that some people are asymptomatic and may be unknowingly spreading the disease.
Employers should perform covid-19 testing on their employees to;Prevent and reduce the disease from spreading amongst the workers. Virus infections spread like wildfire, especially in office settings where employees have to share facilities like desks and computers. Screening their workers for covid-19 helps employers take the necessary measures to contain it. They should;

  1. Encourage sick workers to stay at home

    • To prevent the disease from spreading further, employers should have their sick employees stay at home and not return to work till they have fully recovered. It is also vital for employees having symptoms or with ill family members to notify their supervisor so that the necessary action may be taken.
  2. Conduct daily health-checks

    • This includes screening temperatures and checking for symptoms in employees before entering the business premises. It is, however, essential to perform these health-checks safely and respectfully. Screeners should put on the right personal protection equipment to avoid possible infections. Employee screening should be as private as possible to prevent them from stigmatization.
  3. Identify how and where workers might contract covid-19 at work.

    • Employers should be at the forefront of providing a healthy and safe work environment by conducting a hazard assessment of the work area. They should then determine the kind of control measures to be taken and encourage their employees to be careful in public settings.
  4. Separate sick employees

    • Upon arrival at work, employees should be checked for symptoms. Those appearing to be sick should be separated from their colleagues and taken home or to a healthcare facility. If an employee has been suspected or confirmed to be sick, thorough cleaning and disinfection should be done to prevent others from falling ill as well. Workers should be educated on how to protect themselves both at workplace and at home effectively. Those commuting to work by use of public transport should be encouraged to use means like walking or biking to minimize their chances of getting infected.

Maintain good and healthy business operations

For businesses to be operational as usual, employers should take measures against the spread of the disease amongst their employees. It is important to get them tested to know what they are dealing with. There should be a coordinator responsible for all issues concerning covid -19 at every workplace. When every employee's status is known, employers can;

  1. Come up with a plan for flexible sick leaves and other supportive policies for their employees
    • They will be able to plan ahead and make sure that sick leave policies are flexible and that the remaining employees are not burdened with work. They will also be able to make arrangements to connect their workers to the appropriate employee assistance program (EAP) and other social and behavioral services.
  2. Protect employees who are at a higher risk of contracting the virus
    • Older adults and those with underlying conditions are at a greater risk of contracting covid-19. Employers should be able to protect this group of people by offering those duties that minimize contact with other employees and customers. They will be able to cross-train employees so that they can be able to perform other tasks in the absence of their colleagues.

Testing
Most employers may not have a clue on what diagnostic technique to use on their employees. While there are different methods of covid-19 testing being developed worldwide, PCR and Antibody testing remain the most effective methods at the moment. We offer testing and diagnostic services by use of both techniques as discussed below;

  • PCR Method
    • This method uses mucus samples taken from the nose or throat of the person under inspection. It also works on saliva. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR), works by amplifying the genetic material of the virus, only visible when one is actively infected. It is entirely accurate but can fail to show results in newly infected individuals because the virus may not have started to replicate in the nose or throat. In the earlier stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, results wait time was longer due to a testing backlog. Today, individuals can get their results in thirteen minutes by use of rapid PCR tests.
  • Antibody testing
    • This test is used to identify individuals who had previously been infected by the virus. It is perfect for tracking the spread of Covid-19 through a population. Rapid anti-body testing works by looking for coronavirus antibodies in the blood. When one has a viral infection, their immune system responds by producing antibodies four to seven days later.This technique typically produces results within a few minutes of blood testing. Rapid anti-body testing works via finger prick or blood draw.

Finger prick vs. blood draw

Finger prick method is a more popular method for employee Covid-19 testing. Healthcare professionals prick the participant's finger to collect blood samples, which are then run through a machine for analysis. It is cheaper and faster since the samples do not have to be sent to the lab for analysis. It is also less painful than the blood draw method.On the other hand, blood draw involves the drawing of blood from the veins as a doctor would do in the office. It is more invasive and painful than the finger prick method. It is also more complicated since it requires more equipment. Results can come a bit late since samples have to be sent to the lab for analysis.

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