How to Roll Out Large Scale COVID-19 Testing for Your Employees/Members (With Case Studies)

Two organizations that are running large scale COVID-19 testing for their employees/members include Tyson Foods and the US Major League Baseball. While Tyson Foods uses diagnostic (Polymerase Chain Reaction — PCR) testing, the MLB has used rapid antibody testing, in addition to its use of the saliva testing kits.

#CASE STUDY 1: Tyson Foods

Type of Test

  • Tyson Foods conducted diagnostic (Polymerase Chain Reaction — PCR) testing of team members for COVID-19.

The Number and Frequency of Tests

  • Based in Arkansas, with about 24,500 employees in the state, Tyson Foods conducted these tests across its Northwest Arkansas locations, “which are among more than 40 production facilities in the U.S. where the company is rolling out advanced testing capabilities to team members.”
  • As of June 19, 2020, Tyson Foods had tested 3,748 team members across its Northwestern Arkansas facilities, of which 481 or 13% tested positive.
  • “The company has likely been involved in more testing than any other company in the country, having tested nearly a third (or 40,000 i.e., 1/3 of 120,000) of its workforce as of July 30, 2020.” Of these, only under 1% of its 120,000 team members tested positive for the virus.
  • “The company plans to test thousands of workers every week across all of its facilities.” “Their strategy involves the weekly testing of team members at its facilities to monitor for the presence of the virus.”
  • Through the company’s inclusive approach to large-scale testing, they found that a majority of team members who tested positive were asymptomatic.

Modality of Test

  • Tyson Foods’ employees were tested onsite, in partnership with Matrix Medical, a leading medical clinical services company, and other partners.
  • The company plans on adding about 200 nurses and administrative support personnel to conduct the on-site testing and assist with case management.
  • Furthermore, “Axiom Medical, a healthcare case management provider, is also tracking the symptoms of team members who test positive and providing additional care at select facilities.”
  • The (onsite) Tyson Foods’ Northwestern Arkansas facilities where the tests were conducted include seven locations across Springdale, Rogers, and Fayetteville.
  • Below, is a table of the test locations, including the results (Northwest Arkansas COVID-19 Testing Results by Facility, as of June 19, 2020):

Northwest Arkansas COVID-19 Testing Results by Facility

#CASE STUDY 2: Major League Baseball

Type of Test

  • The US Major League Baseball announced in April that it will participate in an antibody testing study, using rapid antibody tests.
  • “The test used in the study is not diagnostic and not the same test used in healthcare settings to identify the presence of the virus. Rather, it measures whether people have been exposed.”
  • However, as part of its health and safety protocol for reopening, the sporting body uses saliva testing kits to analyze samples.

The Number and Frequency Tests

  • As part of the study, the body further announced that 27 teams, including 10,000 employees from these teams, have volunteered to be tested.
  • Given that this a study, it’s unlikely that the tests will be further conducted.
  • However, as part of MLB’s health and safety protocol, they stress the need and/or use of rapid testing, with players been tested every other day.

Modality of Test

  • The rapid antibody testing study is conducted in collaboration with Stanford University and the University of Southern California.”
  • However, as part of its reopening plans and testing strategies, MLB has converted its drug-testing lab into Covid-19 testing labs, such as its lab in Utah.
  • Furthermore, the sporting body uses a supplementary facility at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
  • Since MLB sends samples to these labs, it suggests that the samples are usually collected onsite.

Research Strategy

The research team reviewed various press articles (such as The Counter, Financial Times, New York Times and others) and other relevant resources to identify various organizations that have conducted or are conducting large scale COVID-19 testing for their employees/members. Through this, we found various organizations, such as Rosen Hotels & Resorts, Smithfield Foods Inc., Ford Motor Co., UnitedHealth Group Inc., Rosen, U.S. Steel, Microsoft, Amazon, Major League Baseball, Las Vegas Sands, Station Casinos, Wynn Resorts, Kroger, and Tyson Foods. While some have conducted tests, such as Tyson Foods, some have announced their plans to conduct such tests, such as Amazon. For each organization, we reviewed the Covid-19 testing program for employees. Through this, we identified Tyson Foods, as a company that deploys the traditional PCR testing method. However, we found limited organizations that have deployed or are deploying rapid testing or other methods. While we could identify Major League Baseball (MLB) as one that has deployed rapid antibody testing, there aren’t many pieces of information to provide a robust case study. Hence, we’ve augmented it with the information on its deployment of the saliva testing kits.

Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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