Rapid Testing Covid-19 and Strategy to Return to Work Recommendations

Rapid Testing COVID-19 and Strategy to Return to Work

Prepared by Melissa Linner, MD
Medical Director Mercy Workplace Health

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has provided guidance for significant available testing capacity for rapid COVID-19 testing. This test is a nasopharyngeal swab that has FDA Emergency Use Authorization. The results currently are taking 24-48 hours turnaround time from receipt of acceptance to the lab. At this time, any patient who is symptomatic in the state of Michigan is eligible for testing, as well as healthcare workers, first responders, and essential workers (anyone still reporting to work in person) with potential exposure, whether or not they are exhibiting symptoms. Currently, Mercy Health is only testing those individuals who are symptomatic and this test is ordered by their primary care physician. The nearest testing location for asymptomatic testing is at a Rite-aid at 5995 Kalamazoo Ave SE, Kentwood, MI 49508. They can be reached at (616) 827-9906.

Rapid Test COVID-19

The sample is collected via a nasopharyngeal swab. This tests for the virus in the respiratory system. (i.e. person is infected)

Negative Result = the person does not have the virus in their system at the time of testing

Note: in early stages of infection it is possible that the virus will not be detected yet as the genetic material the test screens for has not replicated enough to detect on test

** The most beneficial use of this test is testing someone with symptoms, as a negative test tells us COVID-19 is not causing their illness.

CDC Recommendations for Return to Work

This can be broken down into 3 categories:

  1. Positive test in the SYMPTOMATIC individual
    1. Eligibility to return work must meet 3 criteria if symptomatic with positive test result
    2. Resolution of fever without use of fever-reducing medications
    3. Improvement in respiratory symptoms of cough/SOB
    4. Negative results of repeat COVID-19 nasopharyngeal swab from at least 2 consecutive swabs collected >24 hours apart
  2. Symptomatic individual with no testing performed
    1. >72 hours have passed since recovery
    2. Recovery: resolution of fever without use of fever reducing medication
    3. Improvement of respiratory symptoms of cough/SOB
    4. At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
  3. Laboratory confirmed COVID-19 test but individual remains asymptomatic
    1. Must exclude from work until 10 days have passed since date of positive COVID-19 test
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