Join us in welcoming Melissa Orth to the show. Melissa is the President and CEO of The Legacy Senior Communities, a Jewish, faith-based, continuum care community in Dallas, Texas. She was previously the COO/CFO of Greenhill School, a co-educational independent school serving 1,300 students, pre-kindergarten through 12th grades, in Addison, Texas.
Melissa has moved from the school world to the healthcare world and that’s why we’ve asked her to join us on the podcast.
After our conversation Melissa sent this additional update that we wanted to include for your benefit.
You will want to determine what your testing protocols will be when students and employees return to campus in the fall. For employees who have tested positive for COVID, the CDC allows for both quarantine and testing return to work protocols, which could be applied to students, as well. Note that a negative test on someone who has not tested positive and is not experiencing symptoms is not reliable, as without symptoms, it’s hard to know where a person is in the disease state, and therefore such tests are known to produce false negative results. As such, the CDC suggests a 14 day quarantine for those who have been, or are suspected to have been, exposed to COVID, but are not experiencing symptoms.
Testing can be useful during strategic contact tracing or to determine if someone in your community with symptoms is COVID positive. If you manage this testing directly for employees and/or students, please be mindful of the labs and related tests you are using to be sure they are reputable and approved by the FDA or supported by the CDC and other health authorities, as there are tests that are not reliable or effective. The current response time on tests varies greatly depending on the lab and where you are geographically located.
We are currently experiencing a 3-5 day turnaround, but when the State of Texas mandated testing of all residents and employees of all long-term care facilities, this mandated overloaded the labs and the wait time increased to 1-2 weeks. At that point, testing ceases to be effective. Also note that there is much discussion and controversy over the usefulness and accuracy of the serology antibody testing. Such testing is not recommended in replacement of COVID testing. Currently, accessing testing requires an order from a physician.
As an organization, you will want to determine when you want to have employees and/or students tested; how will you have such testing administered; who pays for the tests and related processing (which currently ranges from $125-$150 per test at the two private labs we are using); and if testing is not conducted through your organization, how you be sure to obtain test results in a timely fashion.