The Walker County Office of Emergency Management has passed along letters from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Planning Section Chief Mary Beth Meier writes:

We’ve received reports that our testing sites and hospitals are being overwhelmed by people requesting testing and seeking a Negative result as a condition for returning to work by their employer. As you know, this draws significant resources and efforts away from those that need immediate care and diagnosis.

Dr. John Hellerstedt writes:

We know that employers are concerned about the health of their employees, customers, and the community. Recently, we at the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) have received reports that some employers are requiring their employees to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test before they can return to work after an illness. We appreciate your dedication to the health of your employees and our community and can understand the concern.

However, we at DSHS are not recommending COVID-19 testing be required before returning to work. This is in alignment with guidance from the Texas Workforce Commission and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

DSHS recommends that mildly ill individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19, like fever or cough, stay at home and take care of themselves there. Many mildly ill people will not need to go to their healthcare provider for testing or treatment. Sick individuals can help prevent the spread of their illness by staying home.

For these individuals, DSHS recommends that they stay home until they are fever-free for at least 72 hours(measured when they are not taking fever-reducing medicine like Advil™, Tylenol™, or aspirin),their symptoms have improved, and at least 10 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared. After they have met these criteria, they can return to work.