Negative COVID-19 test not required for staff to return to work

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Special to The Dallas Examiner


Dallas County has seen a spike in the number of residents who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. With record number of over 1,000 since July 3, the numbers are expected to climb even higher as more individuals line up for testing. In an effort to ensure there is adequate testing capacity, officials with Parkland Health and Hospital System are reminding businesses that unless they are a hospital or health care organization they cannot require a negative test result in order for an employee to return to work if the employee has recovered from COVID-19.

The supplemental order of County Judge Clay Jenkins on continuing requirements after expiration of stay home, stay safe order dated June 16, stated: Employers shall not implement any rules making a negative COVID-19 test or a note from a health care provider before a COVID-19 recovered employee can return to work … This provision does not apply to hospitals or health care workers following the CDC’s test-based strategy for return to work criteria for health care personnel with confirmed COVID-19.

“Parkland has seen instances where large employers have sent dozens of staff to drive-thru testing sites who said they need a negative test result to return to work,” said Herron Mitchell, director of Operations-East Region for the Population Health Division at Parkland. “This goes against the court order and limits the availability of tests for people who have experienced symptoms or a potential exposure to COVID-19.

“We appreciate that businesses are trying to address concerns of employees and customers, but Dallas County has a limited daily testing capacity at our drive-up sites and that capacity must be used for people who really need the tests.”

If companies want to encourage all of their employees to get tested regardless of symptoms or exposure, they should identify a private testing facility to provide tests either on a case-by-case basis or as part of a contractual relationship. The city, county and federal testing sites should not be used for that purpos


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