September 27, 2020

How Companies Are Getting Fast Coronavirus Tests for Employees

So that month, Mr. Sharpe began regular PCR testing for members of his sales and engineering teams, who typically travel to customers’ work sites. Workers are also tested before and after they travel to a “hot” state for work, which could otherwise require isolating themselves for several days upon returning. Mr. Sharpe said Cameron employees received test results through a website within 36 hours and could use the information to establish their health status to customers.

The company that built the site, Atlas ID, connected Cameron with a lab in Washington State that analyzed its tests. Atlas was founded in 2018 to give workers secure access to employment and income verification data, so they could share it easily with lenders and property managers. When the pandemic hit, it shifted its focus to employers in need of testing while building a network of labs to serve them.

Chip Luman, a co-founder of Atlas ID and its chief operating officer, said those relationships benefited smaller labs by offering steadier demand. “If I’m bringing in this partner that can guarantee me 100 tests every Monday from this employer, 500 from that one, they can look at capacity and plan business around that,” Mr. Luman said.

US BioTek, the lab near Seattle that handles Cameron’s tests, previously focused on allergy testing, among other services, but invested in new testing equipment during the pandemic.

Jack Frausing, US BioTek’s chief executive, said in an email that he had contacted Atlas on LinkedIn after reading about the company in the press. Mr. Frausing said US BioTek was able to provide results for over 95 percent of the samples it received within 24 hours and had the capacity to more than triple its test processing.

Other employers have begun regular testing of asymptomatic workers for similar reasons.

Some, like the meat processors Tyson Foods and JBS, have done so after outbreaks forced them to shut down facilities temporarily, and in the face of pressure from the United Food and Commercial Workers union. Representatives of both companies said they had begun testing to help protect workers.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/15/business/economy/employers-coronavirus-testing.html

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