Tags: Coronavirus | Trump Administration | reopening | offices | testing | social distancing | ppe

For Companies, Employee Virus Testing Remains Hurdle

nurse outside window in a blue protective suit and face mask gives test to man sitting inside a car in parking lot
A person is tested for COVID-19 in the parking lot at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan on April 7, 2020. (Jeff Kowalsky/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 25 May 2020 08:11 AM

As offices nationwide begin to reopen from months of coronavirus-related closures, the subject of properly testing and screening employees remains a giant question mark.

Some companies are checking workers' temperatures before they enter the building. Others are offering free COVID-19 tests. At one company, according to The Wall Street Journal, employees who opt out of being tested are told to keep working from home. Apps are being developed to track people's movements and symptoms.

The entire situation walks a fine line between maintaining people's privacy and doing what seems right to control the spread of the virus that has killed roughly 100,000 Americans.

"It's about mitigating risk. It has to be combined with personal protective equipment, distancing, and behavioral changes," Daniel Castillo, chief medical officer of mobile healthcare company Matrix Medical Network, told the Journal.

One complicating factor is that the majority of COVID-19 tests take several days to deliver results. Two companies whose machines take less than an hour to determine whether someone has the virus or not are mostly being sold to healthcare organizations.

Having quick tests that are widely available would be a game-changer for many companies as they grapple with the challenge of reopening, the Journal reported.

One company that's steering clear of mandating that employees get tested, however, is Verizon.

"Mandatory testing to come into the workplace is fraught with a whole other set of challenges," Verizon's chief human resources officer Christy Pambianchi told the Journal.

The Trump administration insists there are enough virus tests for everyone who needs them, but critics say that's not true — and a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll suggested that 73% Americans don't think there are enough tests either.

The challenge of testing employees exists nationwide, from densely packed cities like New York to meatpacking plants and manufacturing facilities spread across small towns. Amazon is dealing with the issue by building its own lab to process employee tests.

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As offices nationwide begin to reopen from months of coronavirus-related closures, the subject of properly testing and screening employees remains a giant question mark. Some companies are checking workers' temperatures before they enter the building. Others are offering...
reopening, offices, testing, social distancing, ppe
318
2020-11-25
Monday, 25 May 2020 08:11 AM
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