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Should businesses offer regular Covid-19 swab testing to their employees?

In the recent weeks as the lockdown has eased, we should not forget that we are still in the midst of a pandemic that has changed the way we live, work and interact forever.

Above all Covid-19 has no cure (yet) and there is no vaccine. In the absence of population-wide restrictions, isolation of infected individuals is key to curtailing transmission to facilitate the new return to normal.

The recent data does not make for good reading:

  • Spain’s large-scale study on the coronavirus indicates just 5% of its population has developed antibodies , strengthening evidence that a so-called immunity to Covid-19 is unachievable (reported in the Lancet 6th July 2020)
  • A recent paper confirmed that the majority of cases of Covid-19 may be due to silent transmission from a combination of the presymptomatic stage and asymptomatic infections. Consequently, even if all symptomatic cases are isolated, a vast outbreak may nonetheless unfold. Results indicate that silent disease transmission during the presymptomatic and asymptomatic stages are responsible for more than 50% of the overall attack rate in Covid-19 outbreaks. Furthermore, such silent transmission alone can sustain outbreaks even if all symptomatic cases are immediately isolated. So only testing for when one develops symptoms will not prevent further surges in the disease.

 

The next steps for your business

For businesses resilience is no longer a theoretical concern or filed away in a policy on your website and presented to your governance board: companies have to protect employees their families and customers, as failure to do so will have far reaching consequences. We have already seen closure of manufacturing facilities due to outbreaks of Covid-19. Companies that focus on managing returning to operations safely and faster than the competition can change the field of play in ways that will reward beyond the pandemic.

As a leading Private Clinic that has been built its reputation on Corporate Healthcare, Cardiovascular Screening and Medical Weight Management in Leeds and the North of England, we also, have had no choice but to adapt with our team meeting the needs of our corporate and individual clients by offering private Covid-19 testing, while our normal services can continue to operate in a safe manner.

Companies are increasingly asking about the benefit of pro-active Covid-19 screening of their workforce with data evidencing two thirds of employees feel anxious about returning to work.

The Premier League has done this with great effect giving reassurance to players and clubs that their ‘teams’ are checked regularly and infection outbreaks can be efficiently minimised.

With the turnaround time of our Private accredited laboratory Covid-19 swab tests now averaging 24-48 hours we have been able to offer weekly swab testing to organisations ‘asymptomatic’ workforce to quickly identify outbreaks of infection in companies along with the support for the next steps when individuals/s have been tested as positive.

As a clinic, Covid-19 has made us aware of the limits of our ability to learn quickly in an extremely fast-moving environment, in which ten days of hesitation can lead to the quadrupling of infections and to an escalation of business and importantly societal disruption. We have had no choice but to adapt the delivery of our private clinic offer with the formation of our The Whitehall Clinic’s Covid-19 Corporate Testing Team.

Our regular proactive swab testing along with identifying the likely 5-10% who have had the infection (with our lab base blood Covid-19 antibody tests ) has allowed companies to plan their workforce and re-opening strategy, thus avoiding further disruption and the consequences.

Contact our Corporate Covid-19 Testing team to arrange your company’s baseline Covid-19 antibody tests, weekly swab testing and find out about our free symptom tracker app for your organization.