Back to Work: A COVID-19 Testing Framework for Companies

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16 April 2020 – Many companies are now focusing on the safe “re-entry” of their workers after the mandatory lockdown. For this reason, Makati Business Club invited Dr. Rizzy Alejandro, Strategy and External Affairs Head of AC Health, to share the Ayala Group’s COVID-19 testing framework, which other companies can use as basis for their own protocols for keeping workers and workplaces safe.

According to Dr. Alejandro, Ayala will be using antibody test kits on defined sections of its workforce, and shared their protocol for allowing these workers to report, based on test results. She emphasized that rapid test kits serve as a diagnostic tool only, as they measure antibodies from a blood sample.  The “gold-standard” PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction-based) tests are confirmatory – they detect the COVID-19 virus from respiratory tract samples. While PCR testing requires having a laboratory and personnel with specific training, these are not needed with the rapid test kits. However, medical professionals must still be present to administer and interpret test results. 

She noted that conducting COVID-19 tests on employees is completely a company’s prerogative based on its assessment of each employee’s risk of exposure. Dr. Alejandro added though that conducting COVID-19 tests may offer “an extra layer of protection” for companies who are planning how to resume operations when quarantine measures are relaxed.

“It comes with thinking – people who do not need to go back to work, should not go back to work,” she said. She also shared that in Ayala Group, those who are 50 years old and above and those with co-morbidities, are advised not to report to the workplace.

Dr. Alejandro emphasized that in decisions such as the “re-entry” of workers back to the office, “Employee safety is the core.”

Here is a copy of the presentation of Dr. Alejandro: