Testing times - How can I be sure my workplace is Covid safe?
As the number of new Covid-19 cases continues to decline, many businesses are looking towards a return to the workplace, in some capacity at least. Yet, experiences like those at Cedar Meats in Melbourne illustrate that it just takes one person to shut down operations. The issue of how to keep workplaces Covid safe remains a very real, daily concern.
It is true that no one single measure will eliminate the risk of workplace spread of Covid-19. Social distancing, hand washing/sanitizing and appropriate PPE all play a role. For more high-risk workplaces or in areas with high transmission of the virus, temperature screening is also used as a first line of defense.
But despite these measures, we have seen Covid-19 penetrate workplaces.
So, what is our best defense?
The earlier we know the virus is present in the workplace, the better our chance of managing the outbreak and minimising the spread.
But how do we know?
The obvious way to know for sure is to get tested. And we have certainly been doing that! Since 22 January this year, over 7 million Covid-19 tests have been conducted
However, by and large, these tests have been triggered by an individual showing symptoms or having been in contact with a confirmed/suspected case.
But what about people who do not show symptoms, that is, they are asymptomatic? Should we be worried about them? Well the current scientific literature shows:
“Between 5% and 80% of people testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 may be asymptomatic” And
“That symptom-based screening will miss cases, perhaps a lot of them”
In other words, especially in younger, healthier populations (those under 60 years old) many individuals who have the Coronavirus - and are capable of transmitting it to others – do not show any symptoms such as a cough, temperature or other signs of infection.
So, while temperature screening may detect some cases, it is quite likely to miss transmission in the workplace until the infection is much more widespread.
The only truly effective means of detecting an outbreak early and thereby get ahead of the virus in the workplace is to conduct Covid-19 testing in the workplace.
DASA offers COVIDsure – an onsite workplace Covid-19 testing service. Samples are collected by trained collectors and analysed in a NATA accredited laboratory. Results are available within 24-48 hours.
To know more about the service and how it might benefit your workplace, contact John De Mellow on (02) 8001-2535 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.