In recent weeks, much of the news coverage has been focused on COVID-19 vaccinations. On March 1, 2021, Johnson and Johnson began the distribution of their one-dose COVID-19 vaccine. It is the third vaccine developed to protect against the deadly Coronavirus that grew into a global pandemic, shutting down most of the United States as well as many other foreign countries just one year ago. While everyone from disease experts to politicians discuss topics like herd immunity, rising infection rates and mass immunization schedules COVID-19 testing, while no longer topping the list of hot news topics, is still a vital tool in disease management. As the U.S. hits its one-year pandemic anniversary and the grim milestone of over 575,000 deaths, many American businesses are beyond ready to get back to some level of normalcy. And, as more employers are analyzing how to manage and adjust workplace restrictions to return to onsite workforces and increased exposure to the public, workplace COVID-19 testing is a tool they are turning to help promote safe environments for staff and clients alike.
Options for testing have grown as fast as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can issue emergency patents (EUAs). In the early days of the pandemic, most COVID-19 testing involved nasal swab lab-based antigen tests. This type of test aids in identifying if the subject is currently COVID-19 active virus positive and therefore, has the potential to infect others including co-workers and customers in a workplace environment. Lab-based nasal swab COVID-19 antigen tests have a high level of accuracy in detecting both positive and negative results. However, since they generally require a medical professional for accurate specimen collection, facilitating this type of testing can be cost prohibitive for many employers. Antigen testing eventually grew to include rapid tests which afforded results within 10- 15 minutes. While valuable tool for detecting individuals with COVID-19, rapid tests have proven to have lower accuracy in detecting positive results which has led to clearing some individuals for duty when they were actively infected with the COVID-19 virus due to a false negative test result.
In recent months, oral fluid (saliva) lab-based COVID-19 antigen testing has been gaining in popularity. Lab-processed saliva tests have been proven to be as effective as the lab-processed nasal swab test. Plus, they have the added benefits of greater temperature stability, easy self-collection and are less invasive to the donor than nasal swab tests. They are also very affordable making them a great option for employment, student, and volunteer testing programs with the goal of identifying and isolating persons actively infected with the COVID-19 virus to prevent further viral spread. To aid employers, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations in reaching their return to normal, safe environment goals, AccuSource is now proud to offer oral fluid lab-based COVID-19 antigen testing as part of our occupational drug screening and medical service program. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Please note: Some employers have inquired about COVID-19 antibody testing for workplace use. The EEOC issued guidance regarding COVID-19 antibody testing in June 2020. In their statement, they indicated it is not appropriate for employers to require or perform antibody testing as part of a return-to-work protocol and stated workplace testing should be confined to “viral testing” only.