Delta is well on its way to testing nearly 100 percent of the airline’s workforce for COVID-19 by the end of the month, thanks to an extensive employee testing program that is adding another layer of protection to the many measures we’ve recently launched to keep both employees and customers healthy and safe onboard.
“Our customers want to know that the people caring for them while traveling are healthy,” said Joanne Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer. “Providing COVID-19 testing for all of our people is an important action we can take to keep employees, their families and our customers safe, increasing confidence in travel while doing our part to slow and stop the spread of the virus.”
Widespread, proactive testing is one of the best ways to slow the spread, especially since the virus can be spread by people who don’t have any symptoms. Testing all 75,000 Delta people will help give even asymptomatic individuals time to recover at home and reduce exposure to others. Using this baseline testing, Delta has engaged Mayo Clinic, a global leader in serious and complex care, to help develop a re-testing strategy based on tailored risk assessments. Mayo Clinic will also review and assess Delta’s health and safety practices from – infection prevention measures to workforce risk assessments – that aim to support Delta people and help reduce the rate of infection.
Delta recently launched onsite testing in cities with large employee populations including Atlanta, Minneapolis and New York, and recently extended an at-home testing option to all U.S. employees, through which Quest Diagnostics will send self-collection kits directly to an employee’s doorstep upon request.
About half of Delta’s active employees have been tested so far.
“The infection rate among our customer-facing employees is below the national average and shows that our Delta CareStandard measures are working,” Smith said. “While we're encouraged by our results, we know we can’t afford to let up now. Health experts agree that a multi-layered approach – one that includes testing, symptom-checking, mask-wearing, environmental cleaning and physical distancing – are the greatest inhibitors to spreading COVID-19 and will play a critical role in keeping our people safe in the weeks and months ahead.”
Employees who receive a positive diagnostic COVID-19 test result are required to isolate at home for a minimum of 10 days while receiving full pay protection in order to break the chain of transmission among employees and with customers. In addition, employees who have been exposed to others with COVID-19 are required to remain out of the workplace for 14 days from the date of exposure with full pay protection. Delta is also offering employees the option of being tested for the COVID-19 antibodies at all of our major U.S. hubs and at more than 2,000 Quest Diagnostic locations nationwide – free of charge.
Mayo Clinic and Delta
Mayo Clinic consults with Delta on additional COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures for employees as part of its role on Delta’s Global Advisory Panel, a consortium of partners we’ve engaged to review and recommend best practices for employee and customer health and safety on an ongoing basis.
Other partners include RB, the makers of Lysol®, which is helping us develop new disinfection protocols and solutions; and Emory Healthcare, which offers counsel on improved processes for customer safety.