Medical experts fluent in public health guidelines are key to recovery from an outbreak at a large workplace.
On the morning of July 28, Discovery Health MD received an urgent email from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). A large distribution warehouse was in the midst of a severe COVID-19 outbreak and the DOH needed a testing outfit on-site immediately.
“We took a day to make a plan and pull our team together, but we started testing as soon as we possibly could,” explains Daniel Pulse, Discovery Health MD’s chief growth officer. Since July 30, Discovery Health MD has been on-site to administer lab-based PCR tests and rapid tests, including nearly 500 lab-based PCR tests on day one.
The warehouse’s team of over 950 employees and contractors is essential to the local economy. Working with DOH guidance, they elected to halt operations and close their facilities for the first week in August.
Every team member at the warehouse had to show a negative result on a minimum of two lab-based PCR tests before returning to work. They must also take a rapid test upon arrival to work every day and wait for a negative result before they start their shift.
“At the outset, our testing turned up a lot of positive cases, but those team members isolated properly, and case numbers decreased steadily,” Pulse says.
Discovery Health MD helped the warehouse every step of the way. “This is a multi-agency partnership,” Pulse explains. Discovery Health MD has been allied with the DOH for months, learning their data requirements and protocols. This means Discovery Health MD can act as a liaison between the state’s public health officials and the leadership at any given organization should an outbreak occur.
“We also worked with county Public Health officials to secure supplies and with the warehouse to make sure we designed protocols that worked well with their operational model and that they understood the DOH’s requirements,” Pulse goes on.
“If an outbreak occurs at your organization, you need an expert on your side,” says Dr. Ann Jarris, Discovery Health MD’s co-founder and CEO. “Employers need someone who speaks the DOH’s language to help them navigate the situation. That’s what we offer.”
Discovery Health MD recently released a streamlined early detection platform for monitoring symptoms in large groups of workers. The new mobile app, designed in collaboration with the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and Maritime Blue, was developed with Washington’s DOH data requirements in mind. It allows high-density critical infrastructure employers to streamline symptom tracking among their workforce at no cost.
“Don’t wait for an outbreak to have your data in order,” urges Dr. Jarris. “We have the best platform for workplaces to manage employees during COVID in a way that the DOH understands and wants. By tracking symptoms, you’ll have your data ready, and a better chance at avoiding an outbreak in the first place.”
“We had hoped we’d have transitioned to a more passive role in COVID management by now,” Dr. Jarris continues. “It’s time to be more vigilant and take a more active role in screening your employees.”