As many of us are looking toward going back to normal, or at least back to work, special considerations must be made if we are going to prevent a new spike in COVID-19 infections. In addition to some tips on keeping a clean workplace, we will also talk about some testing methods that help with social distancing. Of course, a lot of the tips here you’ve been hearing for months and are just common-sense precautions, but hopefully having everything compiled here together will be useful and even helpful!

Keep Yourself Clean

This one seems fairly obvious; it is well known that the first step in preventing the spread of coronavirus (or any virus, for that matter) is to keep your hands clean. Washing your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with any bar or liquid hand soap is an excellent first step toward preventing the spread of viruses; handwashing should be done frequently. Another way to prevent infection is to avoid touching your face, especially openings like mouth and nose. Of course, hand shaking or other casual contact that we often take for granted should be avoided.

Keep Your Environment Clean

Another big help in preventing infection is to keep the air and area around you clean. The best way to do this is to wear a mask that covers both your nose and mouth. This is more about preventing your spreading infection than preventing your getting infected. While an N95 mask is probably the best as it catches 95% of airborne particles, a simple 3-layer surgical mask goes a long way in mitigating the risk of contagion. Even lesser-protective cloth masks and other homemade coverings are helpful…every little bit helps! Even with a mask on, it is still important to cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow (this is always a good idea). Also, it is important to stay home or otherwise avoid contact with others if you are experiencing any symptoms of infection or fever. Lastly for your environment, good social distancing (keeping 6 feet away from others) will help greatly.

Keep Your Work Area Clean

As the coronavirus can live on surfaces (especially non-porous surfaces like desks, etc.), it is important to clean and disinfect surfaces regularly, including, but not limited to: desktops, keyboards, doorknobs, faucets (kitchen and bathroom), and any other commonly shared office equipment (printers,  photocopiers, and touchscreens, as examples). Floors and common areas should also receive extra cleaning and disinfecting. Some have suggested using disposable utensils if there is a shared break room/kitchen or other place it is common for coworkers to take meals or snacks.

Drug Testing

If you plan on continuing urine drug testing, it is even more important to follow the steps I’ve already outlined. Some have decided to switch to sweat path testing to minimize contact with their clients/participants, as the patch is worn continuously for 7-10 days. Some have chosen hair testing for this reason. Another popular method of testing during these times is oral fluids testing; oral fluids testing can be performed remotely via video-chat…from collection to results without the donor having an opportunity to substitute specimen or otherwise adulterate. Please take a moment to read our blog about specimen types for more information on how these differ from urine.

In summary: stay healthy! If not for yourself, stay healthy for your loved ones, and stay healthy the people who rely on you. Whatever the reason you are testing for drugs of abuse, the people you are testing rely on you to be there to help them navigate and get through it – stay healthy for them!