Businesses contemplating workplace COVID-19 testing should ask themselves a key question: What is the cost of NOT testing?
That’s the advice Mobile Health CEO Andrew Shulman offered during a recent webinar, “Safe and Effective Return to Work,” sponsored by the Queens Chamber of Commerce. The program examined COVID-19 testing and screening options for businesses.
It’s a question each business must answer for itself, Shulman said, and varies by industry. However, it’s not hard to calculate the financial impact of a COVID-19 outbreak: school and plant shutdowns, costly delays in construction and movie production, grounded transportation systems, to name a few. Workplace testing can reduce that devastating likelihood.
‘Antibody Testing Before It Was Cool’
During the program, Shulman outlined Mobile Health’s journey to COVID-19 testing, which, given the occupational health provider’s original mission, hasn’t been a huge stretch. As a provider of screening and testing for communicable diseases for more than 35 years, “We were doing antibody testing before it was cool,” he said.
Early in the pandemic, the company began to investigate COVID-19 testing options and purchased 20,000 antigen tests. “We were lucky to be on the testing forefront,” he said. Since that time, the company has overcome several hurdles — limited supplies, long waits for delivery — and brought onsite testing to healthcare facilities, schools, media productions, and private events.
Asked by participants to rank testing options, Shulman identified lab-based PCR testing as the ‘gold standard’ but most expensive. He recommended antigen testing as a good testing entry point, especially for asymptomatic populations. Point of Care PCR testing has nearly the reliability of lab-based PCR tests at a lower cost.
“It’s a balance of what works best for your organization,” he said. “Some [kind of testing] is better than nothing.”
However, he cautioned participants to ALWAYS ask about turnaround times for test results. “Onsite COVID-19 testing is only effective if you get fast results,” he advised.
Mobile Health Workplace Testing Options
To stay abreast of testing developments, Shulman regularly refreshes the FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) page. This diligence has enabled Mobile Health to offer workplaces the latest testing options, including three types of COVID-19 tests with fast results:
- Point of Care PCR Testing (Results in 30 minutes)
- Point of Care Antigen Testing (Results in 15 minutes)
- PCR Testing through a certified lab (24 hours from lab sample receipt)
Some COVID-19 tests also are available for individuals at select Mobile Health locations. Shulman invited participants to contact him for advice on shaping a workplace testing program to a business’s needs. Watch the webinar here.