August 11, 2021

Are your staff ignoring the new set of COVID-19 symptoms?

The tell-tale signs of COVID-19 are changing. With the spread of the Delta variant, the classic symptoms on our watchlist – high temperature, a loss or change to sense of smell or taste, and a new, continuous cough – are becoming less common, making way for a new set of indicators. 

The highly transmissible Delta mutation is particularly prevalent in young, unvaccinated individuals and now accounts for 99% of the country’s new COVID-19 cases. Scientists believe the rapid rise is down to the strain’s higher R rate potential (between 5 and 7 without vaccination and other controls) and its easily-missed markers. 

The standard NHS symptom list has not altered, but the ZOE COVID Symptom Study, which tracks how coronavirus affects people across the UK, has reported a significant upswing in complaints of: 

  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches 
  • Runny nose 

In other words, everyday ailments that we often ignore. These inconspicuous symptoms – combined with workers’ tendency to ‘power through’ minor illnesses – place businesses in a precarious position. After months of stalled operations, companies need staff to show up and get the job done. But how do you differentiate a colleague’s sniffle from the starting point of a costly COVID-19 outbreak? 

The answer is proactive testing. Twice-weekly workforce screening keeps you ahead of infection rates by identifying asymptomatic or mild, cold-like cases before they trigger wider surges among staff. A rolling testing programme also prevents groups of workers from isolating at short notice, leaving you to deal with productivity decline and drops in employee trust and morale. 

Reduce business risk through early detection  

Professor Tim Spector, who heads up the ZOE study, says that the Delta variant presents more ‘like a bad cold’ in the younger population. This message, however, has not yet filtered through to official guidance. 

In the absence of the typical ‘big three’ symptoms, individuals must now join the dots between a sore throat and suspected COVID, and independently decide to test and self-isolate. That’s a difficult (and potentially income-limiting) decision for personnel, particularly in sectors where home-working isn’t an option, such as retail, hospitality, construction and manufacturing. 

Routine testing reduces business exposure by placing you in control of transmission prevention, rather than relying on colleagues to make the call. A new saliva-only lateral flow test accelerates the process, helping you identify cases up to two days earlier than traditional rapid antigen methods. 

The ultra-sensitive KnowNow test can locate COVID-positive employees as early as day 3 to 4 of infection, at the time when they’re most likely to pass on the virus. You can then intelligently contain hazards and minimise interruption, without fear of widespread flare-ups. 

Protect your team with technology  

As symptoms become harder to spot (and easier to overlook), regular screening can restore confidence and consistency to your workplace. With each test, you gain an accurate snapshot of staff infection rates, and your team recognise you’re taking all possible steps to protect their health and wellbeing. 

KnowNow ensures your work environment remains secure with patented technology that allows only non-infectious staff to step foot onsite. Colleagues’ results are loaded onto a bespoke app, creating a personal testing record and access pass. Employees show or scan their result at the door, so you can be sure your workspace is safe, protected and free of minor symptoms masking far more serious risks.  

Learn more about KnowNow  

KnowNow uses a pain-free saliva swab to detect positive COVID-19 cases days earlier than existing rapid antigen tests. Results are 99.9% accurate and available in just 15 minutes. 

Find out more at knownow.com.

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