What is the guidance regarding back to work testing?
Currently there is no one agreed upon guideline for getting us “back to work” in either the public or private sector. Corporations in the US as well as worldwide are developing plans, but also revising them frequently in this ever changing environment. Some have suggested a negative swab after several days of isolation could be used as clearance to return to work. Unfortunately, this plan has many drawbacks. Any negative test is simply a snapshot in time and does not tell us about a person’s infectivity the next day. In addition, the rate of false negatives is thought to be higher than reported based on the observation that some patients with documented COVID pneumonia are found to have several, repeated, negative PCR tests. Even knowing this, the CDC suggests we would need 30 million tests/day to safely have guidelines for the US. Additionally, Harvard and others have talked about the limitations of using serology as a marker of a positive case since we do not know if the presence of antibodies confers immunity and the timing of development of antibodies. Corporations around the world are using their own criteria. Ferrari company talks about their back to work plans here. (May 6, 2020)