Delta Conducting Mass COVID-19 Testing, Providing Pay Protection for Employees Going Forward

August 26, 2020 by Reece Nations
(Photo courtesy Delta Airlines)

ATLANTA – In cooperation with the Mayo Clinic, Delta Air Lines is implementing a widespread COVID-19 testing program for its employees to fortify the safety of passengers and personnel.

The partnership between Delta and the Mayo Clinic has been on-going since June, according to Delta. The Mayo Clinic has consulted Delta on full workforce testing, establishing an integrated advisory council and managing customer health.

While Delta has already opened onsite coronavirus testing facilities in New York, Atlanta and Minneapolis, an at-home testing alternative has also been made available to its employees. The at-home testing is administered through Quest Diagnostics, which also offers free testing to Delta employees on-location at any of Quest’s clinics.

“There’s nothing more important than the health and safety of our people and our customers,” Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines, said in a statement. “As we continue adjusting our business to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission, there’s no organization in the world better equipped than the Mayo Clinic to act as Delta’s medical advisor. The role Mayo will play in testing our employees and advising on safety practices at airports and work spaces [sic] will help deliver the additional layers of protection needed to safeguard our customers and employees.”

The airline plans to test each of its roughly 75,000 employees for active COVID-19 and antibodies by the end of August. Over 60% of all Delta employees have already been tested this month, and any employee who tests positive for coronavirus is required to isolate at home for at least 10 days.

Delta employees sick with COVID-19 will receive “full pay protection” to encourage them to stay home and recover fully before returning to work. Employees exposed to individuals with COVID-19 are required by Delta to stay away from their workplace for 14 days from the date of exposure.

Earlier this month, Delta announced a partnership with CVS Health to administer rapid-response nasal-swab coronavirus tests in crew lounges at Delta hub airports. Delta has also partnered with the makers of Lysol for guidance on disinfecting protocols and Emory Healthcare for input on managing customer safety processes.

“Our customers want to know that the people caring for them while traveling are healthy,” Joanne Smith, executive vice president and chief human resources officer of Delta, said in a statement. “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.” 

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