Worksite Screening for the COVID-19 Virus

Worksite Screening for the COVID-19 Virus

Worksite Testing for the COVID-19 Virus

With the resurgence of COVID-19, health departments and state and local agencies have been focusing their resources on assessing worksites for the potential of COVID-19 transmission. This assessment should take into account the number of cases identified and other factors, such as the workforce or worksite, to determine whether a cluster is a priority for follow up.

The CDC’s Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace describes strategies that employers can use to reduce their risks to their employees, visitors, and other workplace contacts. Some of these strategies include temperature checks, symptom/contact screenings, and COVID-19 diagnostic tests.

Temperature Checks and Screening

A symptom/contact screening survey is a quick, simple way to determine if workers are at risk for exposure. They can also help identify and isolate potentially infected workers.

They can be administered by employees or through a third-party, such as Worksite Labs. In addition to being quick and affordable, they are confidential.

Symptom/Contact Screenings and Other COVID-19 Virus Information

The most common way to identify people who may be infected with the COVID-19 virus website is through fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, a headache, or other symptoms. These symptoms can be more difficult to recognize than a flu or cold, so screening them with a simple symptom/contact questionnaire is the safest approach.

Another option is a COVID-19 diagnostic test, which uses PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technology to detect genetic material in saliva, nasal or throat swabs. This is more accurate than a fever or symptom disclosure, but it requires more time and expense.

You can ask all applicants, employees, contractors, and visitors to be screened for COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19 before they are allowed to enter the workplace. However, according to the EEOC, an employer who goes beyond that screening is engaging in an illegal pre-offer disability-related inquiry and/or medical examination.

If you choose to require a COVID-19 diagnosis, it is important to keep employee results confidential. You can either require that workers sign a confidentiality agreement or use a privacy booth, separate room, or partition to prevent their results from being seen by other employees.

For those who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, it is vital to follow up with them and confirm that they are still able to return to work. If they are, they should be given a written note from a qualified medical professional to ensure that they can safely return to their job duties and avoid reintroducing COVID-19 to other employees.

As a final precaution, you can also consider offering other flexibilities to employees who might be at increased risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus or suffering complications from it, such as workers with heart or lung disease, chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis, liver disease, diabetes, severe obesity, or immunocompromising health conditions. These flexibilities might include working from home, telework, or adjustments to work responsibilities or locations.

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