FAQ for Employee COVID-19 Testing (including under Cal/OSHA)

Employee COVID-19 Testing

FAQ’s for Employers

 

Q: What’s the right test for employee testing?

A: Most employers are better served by Rapid Antigen tests because they provide immediate results, allowing them to filter out infected employees and remain productive on the day of testing.

 

Q: The PCR test is said to be more accurate so why wouldn’t we want to use the better test?

A: PCR tests are at most 3% more accurate but the present a quandary; test results take at least a day so employers either risk sending infected employees in to work alongside and infect healthy employees, or have to cease operations until they get results from the lab.

 

Q: Under OSHA or Cal/OSHA Emergency Regulations what type of test can employers use during a breakout?

A: OSHA mandates the test be a “Viral Test”. Both PCR and Rapid Antigen tests are viral tests and qualify under OSHA. Antibody tests are not viral tests and do not meet OSHA standards.

 

Q: Does insurance cover employee testing?

A: Insurers are currently denying claims for employer-mandated on-site testing. Insurers will cover tests for their members at clinics and hospitals.

 

Q: Can I make my employees go to a clinic or free clinic to get tested?

A: Yes, but you have to pay for the test (if it’s not covered or free), the employees time (based on their hourly wage) and mileage. That often makes on-site testing a more affordable option.

 

Q: Does weekly random surveillance testing work to keep my employees safe?

A: Random testing does not perform nearly as well as our Cycle Testing algorithm and is not recommended. Testing on a regular cycle with employees grouped by contact and location is best.

 

Q: Do Rapid Antigen Tests produce false negatives like I hear about in the media.

A: We’ve tested over 300,000 people using the CareStart Rapid Antigen Test by AccessBio and recorded 3 false negatives, making it the most accurate assay we’ve used, and statistically better than our experience with PCR testing. We do not use this test on people with a weak immune system and that is likely why we’ve had better results than the manufacturer’s own study, which included people in high-risk groups.

 

Q: Can I force my employees to test?

A: Yes. Under the EEOC- the agency that governs workplace rights- employers can compel employees to test or bar them from work or entering the workplace without consequence.  Employers have to provide all employees with an EEOC-compliant policy and provide proper notice. Discovery Health Services gives these documents and policies to all clients free of charge.

 

Q: What about self-tests or home testing kits? Are those effective for employers?

A: Home test kits are not a great idea. Self-testing is not easy and typically yields an inferior sample to that of a professional. The time it takes to get results is days from when the test was administered making results obsolete by the time they are returned.

 

Q: Are saliva tests more accurate?

A: Not at all. In fact saliva tests are largely problematic because to be effective people actually need to drool, something both unnatural to most adults and really quite disgusting. The mouth contains much more than just DNA- the food you ate and anything you drank, at least- whereas the nasal cavity produces a mostly undiluted, and therefore much better quality, sample.

 

Q: How do I find the right employee COVID-19 testing company? What should I ask when interviewing service providers?

A: Discovery Health Services is the biggest employee testing company in the nation and earned their reputation by being client-focused. A good employee testing company must have a CLIA Certificate or license, be highly insured and have many years of experience in employee wellness and providing on-site events. Stay away from companies that are less than three years old and ask for at least the items listed above.

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