What You Should Know About COVID Testing at Conferences

When people attend conferences, they are physically close to others who are generally not around for extended periods. The risk of transmission is higher for events held in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation. These types of environments allow exhaled respiratory fluids like aerosol droplets to build up in the air. It only takes one infected guest to transmit the virus to many attendees.

Testing for Conferences

Testing for COVID prior to attending conferences is a safety measure that, when combined with other mitigation strategies, can protect attendees and event staff from being exposed to COVID and reduce community spread. If you are hosting a conference, you may want to consider offering it on-site as a convenience service. This makes it as easy as possible for your guests to comply with your testing requirements. 

It’s important to note that if the event organizer wants access to COVID testing results, everyone getting testing must sign a HIPPA release and authorization. This document allows the lab to share the test results of the event with you. Organizers that enable attendees to self-report their results should have them sign an attestation indicating that the results are theirs and accurate and a disclaimer that the event organizer isn’t responsible for decisions based on self-reported data.

What Else Can Event Planners Do to Keep Attendees Safe?

There is no fool-proof way to keep attendees safe during an in-person conference. However, by combining mitigation strategies with a solid COVID-19 testing plan, event staff can improve the safety of their attendees. A few additional safety tips include:

    • Require event staff and attendees to wear a well-fitting mask at all times.
    • Enforce a vaccination policy for event staff and attendees.
    • Add disinfecting stations (i.e., hand sanitizer or handwashing. stations) throughout the venue, including at the entrances and exits.
    • Require staff and attendees to stay home if they have any COVID-19 symptoms.
    • When selecting a venue, pick one that is well ventilated and has UV or HEPA filters. 
    • Clean and disinfect common areas, especially frequently touched surfaces like tables and doorknobs.
    • If serving food, opt for single-serve options.

Testing With Metriks

Metriks offers COVID-19 testing for events of all types and sizes, including conferences. To learn about our complete turnkey testing services, contact us today

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7 COVID-19 Safety Precautions Event Planners Take to Keep Guests Safe During the Pandemic

Mass events are known to increase the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19, and the reason is simple: the more people a person is around, the greater the chance they will be exposed to the virus. Aside from being exposed to more people, mass gatherings often involve travel, providing countless opportunities for guests to come into contact with the virus. Public transportation vehicles, transportation hubs, and shared spaces can all increase the risk of viral spread.

COVID-19 Safety Precautions for Mass Events

While mass events increase the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19, that doesn’t mean all events are canceled. Event planners across the U.S. are being more intentional about the measures they are putting in place to protect their attendees and staff. Here are seven ways event planners are hosting safer events during the pandemic. 

  1. Mandating vaccines. The vaccines currently approved and authorized in the United States are effective in preventing COVID-19. Therefore, many event planners are requiring their guests and staff to be fully vaccinated before entering event sites.
  2. Requiring testing. Because not everyone is vaccinated and breakthrough cases can occur, some sponsors are requiring guests and event staff to take a COVID-19 test to enter the event site. Sponsors may have guests present a negative test taken within a few days from the event or have testing available at the event. By doing so, sponsors identify people testing positive and prevent them from attending the function.
  3. Encouraging masks. Masks have been an effective tool in mitigating the spread of the virus. Event sponsors may only require event staff to wear a mask to protect them while working. Alternatively, event organizers may require event staff and attendees to wear masks as an added layer of precaution for everyone on site.
  4. Practicing social distancing. Social distancing is another tool that may be effective in mitigating the risk of COVID-19. When appropriate, some event sponsors create separate areas for each group and limit group sizes. They may also establish procedures that prevent guests from crowding in high-traffic areas, including entrances, exits, bathrooms, or other areas where lines form.
  5. Supporting frequent handwashing. Many event planners are incorporating measures that support and encourage frequent handwashing. For example, they often add handwashing and sanitizing stations around the event site along with signage that reminds people to wash their hands.
  6. Hosting outdoor events. The location of an event can also play a role in the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Outdoor events pose a lower risk of transmission than indoor events, primarily because the ventilation tends to be poorer in enclosed spaces. When outside, fresh air constantly moves, so people are less likely to inhale respiratory droplets from an infected person.
  7. Ensuring indoor events sites are properly ventilated. For indoor events, organizers can ensure the venue is properly ventilated by making sure the building’s HVAC system is working properly. Organizers may also open windows to improve airflow or reduce occupancy.

Keep Guests Safe With COVID-19 Testing

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it’s important for event planners to continue to take precautions to keep guests, staff, and communities safe. Pala Diagnostics offers concierge COVID-19 testing services for businesses, K-12 schools, universities, event sites, medical offices, hospitality groups, and more. Contact us today to design a custom protocol specifically for your needs.