Companies roll-out mass tests to staff in coronavirus fight


Companies roll-out mass tests to staff in coronavirus fight
A lab technician begins semi-automated testing for COVID-19 at Northwell Health Labs on March 11, 2020 in Lake Success, New York. An emergency use authorization by the FDA allows Northwell to move from manual testing to semi-automated. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis)

In Summary

  • The exercise is however being conducted in discreetness as many business fear discrimination from members of public and other clients should virus cases be established in the exercise.
  • The mass testing exercise is going beyond work places guidelines set by the government which have included the promotion of social and physical distancing, isolation of of staff members and working from home.
  • Experts however argue mass testing to staff members may be an exercise in futility if testing is not occurring as a routine.

Local companies and businesses have scaled up their fight against the coronavirus pandemic by rolling out mass tests among staff members.

The exercise is however being conducted in discreetness as many business fear discrimination from members of public and other clients should virus cases be established in the exercise.

Some firms have however made public their intended mass tests to staff members.

“We will be carrying out a mass testing exercise for their entire CMC family in Nairobi. It is our intention to remain transparent and ensure business continuity despite the current situation,” motor dealer CMC said in a statement published in local dailies on Monday.

The mass testing exercise is going beyond work places guidelines set by the government which have included the promotion of social and physical distancing, isolation of staff members and working from home.

Experts however argue mass testing to staff members may be an exercise in futility if testing is not occurring as a routine.

“If you are talking about testing, how often are this tests being done? We know the virus incubates in about 14 days, a business must therefore think of how often this exercise is to be done. The reality is that testing kits availability is minimal,” PharmaAccess Foundation Director General Faith Muigai told Citizen Digital.

Mugai instead recommends companies to embrace less cumbersome measures such as remote working for non-essential staff, regular sanitization of work stations and the monitoring of coronavirus related symptoms.

This is as she emphasizes the prioritization of tests to front-line health workers and individuals with co-morbidities and accompanying symptoms.

“Testing should be prioritized. First off all front-line health workers should be at the forefront of tests. The next to be tested would be those showing symptoms followed by those with compromised immunities,” she added.

With a single tests ranging from anything between Ksh.5000 and Ksh.15,000, ABC Capital Advisory Manager Johnson Nderi argues the costs taken on may not match the desired results given the frequency required in testing.

“The benefit wouldn’t justify the costs. The entire process wouldn’t make sense as a staff member testing negative today may as well be positive tomorrow,” he said.

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Story By Kepha Muiruri
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