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Employer Responsibilities

Reopening the country, and how it impacts business

The most recent reports show that there is still uncertainty regarding the way the government has chosen to reopen the US economy. There are reports of COVID-19 testing kits shortage and overstressed production lines of the test manufactures who has been trying to supply the drastically increased demand of the reopening states. It adds to unclear or even incorrect statements made by the officials.

According to the paper published in Annals of Internal Medicine states, a journal of the American College of Physicians,

«Diagnostic testing to identify persons infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome–related coronavirus-2 (SARS–CoV-2) infection is central to control the global pandemic of COVID-19 that began in late 2019. In a few countries, the use of diagnostic testing on a massive scale has been a cornerstone of successful containment strategies. In contrast, the United States, hampered by limited testing capacity, has prioritized testing for specific groups of persons.»

Diagnostic Testing for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome–Related
Coronavirus-2. Cheng, Papenburg, et. al. 

The significance of increasing the coronavirus test coverage was also been emphasized by the Harvard Global Health Institute. It was suggested that 500,000 tests have to be conducted daily in order to proceed with reopening and control the inevitable growth of new cases that follows.

However, even if there is a necessary number of tests, their distribution also raises serious concerns. The major part of the newly produced test supplies might be distributed within private healthcare organizations:

«Though the supply chain is a concern for labs of all sizes, manufacturers appear to be prioritizing orders from commercial labs and big health systems over public health labs»

Eric Blanks, chief program officer for the Association of Public Health Laboratories

The US government assures that businesses will be supported during the reopening. But in the past few months there have been cases of inconsistent or even contradictory reports, so businesses have to be prepared themselves to fight the COVID-19 after they have started to operate again.

The guidelines for reopening the economy and businesses, as issued by The White House, provide general safety measures needed to restart the work. They include several phases of restrictions lifting, starting at keeping the most vulnerable groups of people isolated, enforcing symptoms monitoring by the employers, social distancing. The proper measurement equipment is essential during all these phases. It also allows businesses to have some control mechanisms implemented in place.

Various states also have been publishing their guidelines allowing many small, medium and even large businesses to fully function. However, only 17 states have implemented obligatory practices for staff screening (as of May, 7th), and even if the screening is mandatory, the guidelines still suggest involving at least another person in the process which is not optimal in terms of safety. From this perspective, autonomous screening solutions during these troubled times may be safer, faster, and more convenient to implement and use.