Check out our blog posts below to learn about our customers’ COVID-19 journeys and to get the latest health and safety updates. Scroll down to watch our latest webinar on best practices for reopening sports and entertainment venues and preview our new product features.
Vaccination Day at Redstone Highlands: Tips to Encourage Adoption
Redstone was able to successfully double their vaccine adoption rate. Check out our blog to find out how you can overcome vaccine hesitancy. Read more
What Employers Need to Know About the New COVID-19 Variants
What should employers know about the new COVID-19 variants? Read our blog to learn more about the variants and how they can impact your workplace operations. Read more
Watch Now: NCS4 Webinar
Sports and Entertainment venues want to deliver a safe and enjoyable experience for fans. Watch the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) webinar featuring our team and ParkHub to find out how organizations like the Spurs are utilizing technology to confidently reopen. Watch Now
Are you looking for screening, contact tracing, testing, case management, and vaccine management tools for your organization? Book a demo to learn more about our solution!
ReturnSafe’s end-to-end software solution for infectious disease management offers businesses, universities, healthcare facilities, sports teams and major venues the tools needed to successfully reopen and stay open.
AUSTIN, TEXAS – March 01, 2021 – ReturnSafe, the holistic software solution for infectious disease management (IDM) helping businesses reopen and stay open, today announces that the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the largest private biomedical research institution in the United States, has licensed ReturnSafe’s daily health screening app for use at HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia.
ReturnSafe In Virginia
The state of Virginia has a unique set of workplace safety requirements that incorporate many of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and are stricter than most other states. Virginia requirements include daily screening for COVID-19 symptoms for certain employers. ReturnSafe’s app provides a solution for Virginia’s requirements.
ReturnSafe can be used to conduct daily health screenings to maintain compliance. Staff cleared to come to the workplace receive a unique PIN code they use to enter and access the operational building and research facilities.
“ReturnSafe’s mission is to ensure that businesses can keep their workers safe, now and into the future,” said Tarun Nimmagadda, Chief Executive Officer of ReturnSafe. “This pandemic has completely upended our lives. Millions of people have lost jobs. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives. It’s forced us into our homes. It’s kept us away from our loved ones. Returning to any sense of normalcy is going to be a challenge, but it’s never been more urgent. Our world and our workplaces may never be the same again, but we have an opportunity to create new norms to prevent this type of devastation.”
The ReturnSafe Platform
Beyond a daily health screening app, ReturnSafe offers businesses, universities, healthcare facilities, sports teams and major venues an end-to-end solution that includes:
A daily screener that screens for symptoms, exposure and travel to ensure only people meeting the ReturnSafe criteria can access the building.
A testing dashboard providing rapid notifications of positive test results, a requirement for mitigating contagion in fast-moving environments, especially important when lab responses are slow.
High-resolution contact-tracing leveraging existing mobile and wearable devices with built-in social distancing alarms, one of the most needed solutions in active environments.
Case management to manage workflow and communications for employees in isolation and quarantine, eliminating manual spreadsheets which are error prone and hard to manage.
Vaccine management for employers to oversee workplace immunity without compromising employee safety and privacy, the most recent addition to the platform.
Born out of CoronaTrace.org, an open-source contact tracing system for COVID-19, ReturnSafe is on a mission to prevent and reduce the spread of infectious diseases at workplaces and schools. In just six short months, ReturnSafe has amassed more than 60 customers – including Sesame Workshop, Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and several universities and schools – and protected the lives of over 20,000 employees and stakeholders.
ReturnSafe is a holistic software solution for infectious disease management (IDM) that is helping businesses, universities, healthcare facilities, sports teams and major venues businesses reopen and stay open. Its end-to-end platform provides daily health screening, exposure notification, and contact tracing and case management for COVID-19 and other contagious diseases. ReturnSafe is based in Austin, TX and backed by Fifty Years, Necessary Ventures and Active Capital. To help keep everyone in your organization safe with human-driven, technology-supported solutions, visit https://www.returnsafe.com.
We collected a few pieces this month to highlight key features and best practices for screening, testing, and contact tracing. These tools can help you prevent outbreaks as we wait for the vaccines and prepare for variants to surge in March.
UPCOMING: FREE WEBINAR
Join us, National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4), Parkhub, and Spurs Sports & Entertainment for a free webinar on Event Staff Safety and the Contactless Service Experience. Register here
Best Practices and Options for Employee COVID-19 Testing
HR leaders should consider implementing a COVID-19 testing program to prevent outbreaks. Check out our blog to learn more about employee testing options and best practices. Read more
What to Include in Employee Screening for COVID-19?
Employee screening is essential for keeping high risk individuals out of the workplace. Take a look at our blog to learn more about COVID-19 screening requirements, guidelines, and key components. Read more
Easily Comply with Cal/OSHA AB 685
An Infectious Disease Management platform should give employees a sense of ease knowing that their employer is taking their health seriously. Use this checklist to evaluate each option. Download here
Are you looking for screening, contact tracing, testing, and vaccine management tools for your organization? Book a demo to try them out!
Like most organizations, you probably have a daily health screening solution to ensure that only employees that meet your return to work criteria have access to the facility. However, screening alone does not protect your community from the silent spread of infection. Employees infected with COVID-19 but are pre-symptomatic and those that are infected but are asymptomatic may unintentionally spread the virus at your workplace.
An employee COVID-19 testing program is a vital addition to preventing outbreaks. Even though a vaccine rollout is underway, the new highly transmissible variants on the rise threaten workplace safety. Given these circumstances, you should update your safety protocols to include a broad-based testing program to ease the concerns of staff and patrons.
There are three different methods organizations can utilize for employee COVID-19 testing: at home tests, on-site testing, and off-site testing. This blog evaluates each option and reviews overall best practices for testing in the workplace.
Can You Mandate Employee COVID-19 Testing?
Yes, the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commision (EEOC) states that employers may administer COVID-19 tests to keep workplaces safe. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires that mandatory medical tests of employees are “job related and consistent with business necessity”. According to the ADA, if employers administer tests according to current CDC guidance then this meets the “business necessity” standard.
PCR versus Antigen
You should evaluate which type of COVID-19 test would work best for your organization. Currently there are two types of diagnostic tests for COVID-19, PCR and Antigen. PCR tests are the gold standard in terms of accuracy. However, these tests are generally more expensive and take longer to deliver results than Antigen.
Antigen tests are more accurate if the operator is someone already experienced with the testing system. Organizations can use theBD Veritor System to improve accuracy. Due to demand for this system by the federal government this system is not always accessible.
Another option is to use both Antigen and PCR Tests. You can use Antigen as your primary test and PCR as the secondary test if you suspect a false positive. In this case, you can use PCR to verify the result, so you don’t lose employee productivity.
You should evaluate which diagnostic test works best for your organization. Once you have decided, the next step is to decide on the best testing method.
Type of test
What it detects
Level of Accuracy
Time to Results
Detects specific proteins from the active virus
$5 – $35
Detects active virus genetic material
$65 – $150
At Home Testing
Employees can order and self-administer at home tests. This can be a benefit for companies that wish not to be directly involved in employee COVID-19 testing. The turnaround time for at home tests ranges from a few minutes to a few days. Employees and human resource administrators should ensure these testing providers have obtained anFDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
A drawback of at-home tests is that administrators cannot verify the designated employee self-administered a COVID-19 test. These tests also vary greatly in terms of accessibility. For example, theBinaxNOW™ test by Abbot is hard to access given the demand for these tests by the federal government.
The test’s accuracy is also dependent on the employee’s administration. Administrators concerned about accuracy and compliance should choose tests that are relatively easy to use.
Experienced professionals administer on-site tests to employees at a work site. As opposed to at-home tests, human resources can verify that the operators administered COVID-19 tests to the right employee. On-site testing encourages compliance since employees can access the resource at work.
Companies that test on-site create a positive and trusting work environment. Employees feel supported when businesses are proactive about health and safety.
On-site testing is a great option for essential businesses and other high-risk organizations. In these industries, administrators must confirm employees received the right test and react immediately to positive test results. On-site testing is also the best option for businesses with a large number of employees.
A disadvantage of on-site testing is that businesses are taking on the responsibility of testing. When on-site testing, you must ensure that your labs are following the appropriate sanitation and privacy protocol. Additionally, you must adhere to federal guidelines regarding on-site testing.
If your company wishes to do on-site testing, you must adhere to federal mandates for employee COVID-19 testing. Businesses must obtain aCLIA license or hire an organization with a mobileCLIA lab certificate to do on-site testing.
External testing providers, outside of an organization’s worksite, provide off-site testing for employees. Similar to on-site tests, professionals can confirm that the right employees received the COVID-19 test. Off-site testing centers often have better equipment than those on-site, which can improve the accuracy of test results. Best of breed off-site testing centers assess employee COVID-19 tests as soon as possible.
There are some issues that can arise with off-site testing. For example, an employee COVID-19 testing location separate from your worksite may be inaccessible. If employees have to travel outside of work for a test this might diminish compliance. Additionally, off-site testing is less effective if there is a slow turnaround time.
When evaluating a solution, you should consider which testing options are best fit for your organization in the long-term.
No matter which option you choose, employers need a solution for managing the entire testing process. TheCDC’s guidance encourages testing employees with COVID-19 symptoms or potential exposure.
You should encourage all employees reporting symptoms or exposure to seek testing. In addition, you should consider establishing a broad-based testing program for everyone’s safety. This program should allow you to see positive test results immediately.
An effective test management system should also integrate with a contact tracing solution. This solution should provide a list of the close contacts of employees infected with COVID-19 and their contact information. Once you have this information, your team should send the appropriate advisories to these employees as soon as possible to prevent further infection.
Beyond a strong diagnostic testing system, employers should use testing as a risk mitigation tool. Companies can regularly test all or a sample of employees to identify high-risk areas of infection at the workplace. This process is known as surveillance testing. Surveillance testing also allows employers to capture potentially asymptomatic employees.
As an HR leader, you should have one centralized and secure location where you can store important testing information and manage risk. The solution should be scalable, customizable, and integrate with other health safety tools. Our platform provides holistic screening, testing, and contact tracing tools to help employers prevent outbreaks.
Book a demo to learn more about our COVID-19 testing, screening, and contact tracing tools!
Why is employee screening needed for a successful return to work program?
PPE, disinfecting, and social distancing all contribute to a healthier workplace. This blog focuses on adding employee screening.
Employers should follow the “swiss cheese” model where each layer of protection adds more safety. No one solution can fill all the holes where businesses face risk. Adding multiple protection tools or “swiss cheese slices” covers these holes. Following this model allows you to create a strong pandemic defense for your return to work program (1).
Employee health screenings ensure only employees who meet your return to work criteria are at the workplace. Additional layers also include contact tracing, surveillance testing, and vaccine tracking. Contact tracing stops forward transmission and surveillance testing catches asymptomatic silent spread. Finally, vaccine tracking allows you to know when you’ve reached herd immunity. A comprehensive workplace safety solution should integrate all of these tools.
Ask employees to notify them if they are in contact with a sick household member
Currently at least 33 states in the U.S. have made screening employees prior to coming to a physical workspace a requirement. Some states require employee screening prior to each shift. Other states require screening before arriving at work. JD Supra has compiled a list of all the states that have mandatory screening requirements (3).
Key components of a daily health screening
A return to work program should provide the following services as part of the their daily employee screenings to ensure safety. This screening solution should also generate “come to work” or “stay home” recommendations based on the answers to the screening questions.
Health Safety Recommendations
Employers should have a symptom checker app with surveys to see if employees are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. The symptom checker app should ensure no employees with signs of COVID-19 are reporting to the physical work location.
As per the CDC, potential symptoms of COVID-19 include:
Fever greater than 100.4 degrees
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Fatigue, muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
Employers should ask if users have been tested and their results. The CDC recommends testing of individuals with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and their close contacts (2). Establishing a routine testing program also helps companies capture people who are asymptomatic but carry COVID-19 and are silent spreaders. A widespread testing program can help employees stay ahead of COVID-19 cases and prevent transmission.
Testing results should be accessible from a centralized dashboard. With this information, employers can immediately view positive cases and start contact tracing to minimize further COVID-19 transmission.
Employees should log their exposure to those infected with COVID-19 and/or sick with a potential COVID-19 infection. Employers should keep track of this information and send the appropriate advisories. For example, they should send quarantine advisories if employees have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19. Anyone who has been exposed should not enter the workplace until they have properly quarantined per the CDC guidelines.
In some areas, it is required for employees traveling from certain states to quarantine to ensure they are COVID-free (4). For this reason, employers should ask about recent travel in their health screening. Specifically, they should ask about travel outside of the country or to states on the mandatory quarantine list (4). If yes, they should not enter the workplace until they have met the quarantine exit criteria.
Many companies are waiting for the COVID-19 vaccines to become available to the general public. As they arrive, however, universal vaccine adoption is not guaranteed. Employers should have a vaccine tracking tool to help them manage a mixed immunity environment.
Companies should consider asking about employees vaccination status and type and offering incentives for adopters.
Health Safety Recommendations
It is important to understand how your screening solution generates safety recommendations. The survey and recommendations should help employers meet the screening requirements for their safe return to work program. The screener should ensure that only healthy employees are reporting to work.
Employers should develop a list of scenarios they should be prepared for according to local laws and guidelines. They should know what the response will be for these scenarios individually or in combination. Alongside this they should develop the appropriate recommendations for these cases as in the example below.
Scenario 1: An employees with no signs or symptoms of COVID-19 Recommendation: Cleared to come to work.
Scenario 2: An employees with a fever above 100.4 and/or a headache and sore throat Recommendation: Stay home, seek medical attention, and get tested for COVID-19
Scenario 3: Employees that have traveled to states on the mandatory quarantine Recommendation: Quarantine and/or get tested for COVID-19
Employee screenings play a vital role in return to work programs, but they are only one protection tool. Companies still need to add more “swiss cheese layers” to keep employees safe and prevent outbreaks.
Book a demo to test out our COVID-19 symptom checker application and vaccine tracking tools!
As you return to physical workspaces, are you confident in your employee safety program? Does it need to evolve as the new strains and vaccines arrive? Can you make vaccines a requirement? Our resources can help you stay ahead of COVID-19 in 2021
Vaccine Program Management Resources for Employers
We curated resources to help you create a COVID-19 vaccine program. Read more
Evaluation Guide for Contact Tracing in the Workplace
Having the right tools to quickly identify positive COVID-19 cases and close contacts reduces transmission and prevents shutdowns. Find out which contact tracing solution is best fit for your organization. Read more
Easily Comply with Cal/OSHA AB 685
Effective January 1, per AB-685, Cal/OSHA can issue orders for the closure of workplaces based on the threat of COVID-19. Keep your doors open with tools to make compliance easy. Read more
Are you looking for screening, contact tracing, testing, and vaccine management tools for your organization? Book a demo with someone on our team to try our tools!