Updated: May 14, 2020
The FDA has released new information on the use of thermal imaging systems. This information includes how to properly use the systems, limitations, and its use as applicable to COVID-19.
While there is an increase in testing kits approved under FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization, not all tests are created equally. Therefore, it is imperative that you understand how the tests work and how you will use the results for different types of tests.
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the Food Industry
Should You Test Employees for COVID-19.
FDA has worked with more than 390 test developers who have or plan to submit Emergency Use Authorization requests for tests that detect COVID-19 or antibodies to the virus. From this, the agency has provided EAUs for 95 tests: 82 molecular, 12 antibody, and 1 antigen.
Because of this, facilities are being inundated with sales pitches from test suppliers. While there can be some benefit to testing, there are a number of factors a business needs to consider before deciding to use testing:
What is the specificity and sensitivity of the test you are considering, i.e., what is the percentage of false negatives and positives? Many are in the low 90s meaning that 10% of the tests can be wrong and you can be retaining person who actually has the virus – or sending home someone who doesn’t.
Does the person who will conduct the testing have a thorough and accurate understanding of how the test is to be taken? For example, if nasal swabs are used, how deep must it be placed and for how long? Inaccurate results are often caused by inadequate testing procedures.
What is the length of time to result? And what will you do with the results?
Viral tests (which show current infection) take days for results and indicate only if the person had the virus at the time of testing. By the time you get the results, a person who tested negative may now have been exposed; and a person who tested positive may have continued working and exposing others.
While antibody tests (which show previous infection) are often faster, there is no scientific consensus on the immunity conferred with a positive test, so what will be done if the test is positive or negative?
It is for these reasons that TAG continues to stress the importance of Wellness Screening for symptoms; continuing social distancing, enhanced cleaning and sanitation, and masks; and employee communication and education.
As of May 14, 2020 (12:35 ET), there are over 4,387,000 cases (>298,000 deaths) worldwide.
Due to the increasing number of cases in the United States, TAG will move from reporting counts per country to focus on the United States, please see here for the data. For further information regarding worldwide numbers, please refer to John Hopkin University’s aggregate map.
Keep up to date with COVID-19:
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