Ready to go back to the office? Spit in this vial, please


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The world is getting smaller for people who aren’t vaccinated, especially in New York City, where restaurants, theaters and sporting venues must require proof of coronavirus vaccination and mandatory vaccines have now been approved by the court for teachers in public schools.

Over the next few days, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, cops, firefighters, correctional officers and other city workers can expect to be told, “Get your shot or don’t go in.” “

“Our focus over the past two weeks has been to win these lawsuits,” de Blasio told reporters at town hall ahead of the holidays. “Now we’ll turn our attention to all the other pieces of the puzzle. “

The mayor won’t have to fight Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, nearly a third of whose officers are still unvaccinated.

“I would support a vaccination warrant,” said Shea, who recently sent a video to every neighborhood in town, personally pleading with his cops to get their COVID vaccines. “I said it from day one.”

See: Biden says unvaccinated people put economy at risk as he promotes mandates during visit to Chicago

But the next – and far more important – step is coming soon to the city’s banks, hospitals, hotels and universities and to large private employers in the United States. In September, the Biden administration ordered all businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure their people are vaccinated or, if they are not, that they undergo weekly COVID-19 tests. The Ministry of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is currently drafting the implementing rules, a process that will take another three to four weeks.

But what does all this mean in concrete terms for the 80 million men and women who work in these large companies? How many millions will still not be vaccinated? Who will take care of the tests? Who will review the results? Who will make sure that employees who test positive or refuse to be tested are not sitting in their desks or walking around the factory?

If you think getting Americans vaccinated has been a struggle, get ready for the weekly testing term.

“The federal government is now basically telling American businesses, ‘It’s up to you,’” said Jason Feldman, CEO of Vault Health. “Do you want to get your people back? Want to keep them safe? You understand. Determine how you are going to get everyone vaccinated and, for those who refuse, how you are going to make sure they can come back safely. “

Feldman’s business was launched in New York City in 2018 with 49 employees and focuses on men’s health. When demand for COVID testing exploded, the company already had the technology infrastructure, testing know-how, distribution network, and sales team to respond quickly, transforming itself into a focused testing provider. on the workforce, by registering New York-based companies like JetBlue JBLU,
+ 0.51%
and the NBA, with General Motors GM,
+ 0.06%,
New Jersey State and Big Ten College rival Ohio State and Pennsylvania State. Vault now has 1,100 employees, all working remotely, another company that has found an opportunity in times of crisis, not to mention compounded four-digit revenue growth in three years.

Read also: Telemedicine, like distance learning, finds its place in schools in the COVID era

The company is marketing all kinds of testing approaches, but one service is generating the buzz and much of Vault’s growth as the federal mandate looms: Under contract with your employer, a test kit arrives at your doorstep every week. via UPS UPS,
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or DoorDash DASH,
-1.86%.
Open a Zoom ZM,
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call a technician from Vault Health, who monitors everything. Spit into the vial. Seal it. Return it to the prepaid shipping envelope. Send it.

The sample is quickly tested and Vault provides the employer with an up-to-date list which employees are allowed to enter.

The FDA-approved saliva tests are just as accurate as the more familiar nasal swabs, according to a review of 16 studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Saliva tests are also currently easier to obtain than rapid nasal tests, which have seen shortages of late.

“The last thing employers want to do is fight with their employees who refuse to be vaccinated,” Feldman said. “But they have to maintain a safe workplace. We’ve created a verifiable way to determine who can work safely. Since everything is done remotely, employees do not get infected while they are there to be tested. And because the tests are monitored by video, “We know you didn’t swab your dog’s nose for the sample.”

Vault isn’t the only business that has really taken off as many other sectors of the economy have been grounded. Many delivery companies have seen their volumes increase, as have suburban real estate brokers and businesses that provide home entertainment.

Read: COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the United States continue to drop, but experts lament preventable deaths that pushed the toll to 700,000

No one can say for sure what the long-term economic impact of the pandemic will be. But Feldman says he’s convinced the demand for medical tests won’t evaporate anytime soon.

“COVID is coming in several waves,” he said. “I think we’ll see the next wave around vacation time. We are already in flu season. We have no idea who is sick with the flu. He said the company had high hopes for its “FLU-VID test,” a single test for both viruses. “I don’t think this is a temporary business,” said the CEO.

Ellis Henican is a New York-based author and former newspaper columnist.

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