Austin Public Health: No need for employees to provide multiple negative tests


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Public Health is urging local employers to loosen restrictions on their workers who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Health experts say demanding multiple negative tests is unnecessary and a waste of resources.

“This practice is not currently recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nor Austin Public Health (APH), since individuals with mild or moderate COVID-19 remain infectious no longer than 10 days after symptom onset,” APH wrote. “Requiring re-testing places unnecessary financial burden on the employee.”

For one mother of three, who underwent four COVID-19 tests before receiving a negative result, it was both a physical and financial burden. She filed for unemployment despite being symptom free for several weeks, simply because her employer wouldn’t let her back into the building.

“I had no fever, no symptoms. I just had to get that negative,” she said. KXAN granted her anonymity due to her current employment status. “It’s such an invasive procedure. That’s why I think they shouldn’t require you to do a negative as long as you abide by what the CDC is requiring.”

APH echoes recommendations from the CDC on guidance for individuals who have had COVID-19 on returning to work. Current health guidelines require individuals stay home at least 10 days following the onset of COVID-19 symptoms and at least one day following the resolution of fever with improvement of other symptoms.

Austin Public Health

Requiring a negative test is a policy a lot of companies have enforced. Austin business, Elevated Wellness, has been operating like that since March.

“Until that point, they are not allowed to come back,” said lead manager Joseph Anderson. “If they feel off in any way, shape or form, they are not allowed to come into the shop.”

But APH says allowing workers back in under CDC guidelines will allow families and businesses to get back up and running sooner.

“There are months that people can go and test positive. Had that been my case, I would have been without a job for a long time,” the employee said.

Austin Public Health has also provided these letters for you to give to your employer, confirming you have been tested. They recommend you work from home until you meet CDC guidelines.

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