Covid-19 pandemic tested our ability and readiness to deal with a crisis. Most countries started implementing policies to help curb the spread of the disease. Such policies would have had a significant impact in fighting the disease if they were put in place earlier. In as much as COVID- 19 has been hazardous and has caused unforgettable deaths, it has also brought about an evolution in institutions and in people’s behavior.
The world has embraced and invested more in technology. Several innovations have been made to ensure life continues as normal. It is through these innovations that we have the online COVID -19 screening tool. Uncertainties in the health care system such as shortage of staff, limited infrastructure and supplies brought the need to adapt a dynamic approach. To meet the rapid demand of care needed during this time. The innovations were also meant to help in the transition of working from home to normal work schedules.
Are the Screening Tools Recommended by FDA The FDA works with developers of these testing tools to ensure they are standard. Initially, the FDA had stopped companies that were developing these kits but later on realized their public health importance and approved of them. Most companies have received a EUA to use these kits during the public health crisis. These approvals do not mean complete authorization but they have been serving their purpose and have reduced traffic in health care institutions and also in the covid-19 testing centers.
How the Screening Tools Work Most of these screening tools need you to first fill in a questionnaire or a consultation online to first determine your exposure to COVID. The questionnaire is reviewed by a physician who determines whether you need to proceed to take the test. After which, a test kit will be sent to together with instructions on how samples will be collected. You will then send back the test to the lab. Once the test is received at the lab you should expect your results online within 72hours on average. Some companies offer virtual support to the clients and treatment for the not so serious patients is also done at home. For the COVID-19 screening tool to work people must first be encouraged not to run to hospitals when they experience mild symptoms of the virus. They should also be taught how to take the samples correctly. Taking a nasal swab at home or at work may be a big challenge to some.
Accuracy of the Screening Tools The legitimacy of any diagnostic test is its accuracy. The FDA has given guidelines on how to validate these tests in the EUA policy. False results can have a large impact on the health of an individual and the entire public. Additionally, FDA works with companies such as Labcorp to ensure the results the samples and the results are as safe as they would be in the doctor’s office.
The difference between the online test and the physical test is that for the online one they use nasal or saliva swabs while for the physical one they use nasopharyngeal swab. However, this does not interfere with the results both samples are adequate for testing the virus. Online tests receive the same treatment as the other tests hence, this guarantees its accuracy.
Many companies claim accuracy but it is important to note that these test are not exactly approved by FDA they are only being used to mitigate the public health crisis that is going on. They have not been put through the rigorous testing and reviewing. Therefore, as you make your selection ensure the one you are using can at least produce accurate results. Furthermore, the accuracy of the result also depends on how well a person takes the samples. Thus if you are carrying out the test at work or at home you have to ensure you follow the directions given to you to the latter.
Advantages of using Online Screening Tools The main COVID 19 prevention method is to maintain social distancing. Therefore, with these online testing kits you will submit your samples and receive them at the comfort of your home. It means, you will be avoiding crowds and the long lines that in the stations carrying out physical testing. If by any chance you test positive you will have already self-isolated yourself, in case of a positive result hence reducing the spread of the virus. Moreover, the results come out earlier compared to the physical testing. Within 72 hours you will have your results.
With such tools essential health care workers can constantly check their status and receive their results to avoid spreading the disease. Additionally, using the online screening tools allows the institutions carrying out the test to prepare adequately with personal protective equipment. It is also easier to separate regular patients from COVID 19 patients. If the test is being done for employees, it gives the employer an idea on what measures to put in if any of the employees tests positive. Online testing also expands the number of people being tested for the noble virus which makes containment measures easier.
Bottom Line Despite embracing the new normal and learning how to live with this virus there is still need to carry out the tests frequently and most importantly, carry them out in a safe way. The screening test can be done by anyone since it involves a simple questionnaire test to determine whether one has been exposed to the virus. The online screening tool has made what initially seemed like a difficult task to many easier. The screening tool will enlighten you on you on your status however; it should not be used to determine when to go back to school or work. The screening can be used for employees, clients or for individual use. Therefore if you are in the service industry then it’s probably the best way to keep the employees, employer and clients safe.
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