Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Google is implementing a new Covid-19 test policy in its US workplace in preparation for a surge in infections from Omicron variants in the coming weeks.
In an email sent to full-time employees on Thursday and received by CNBC, Google health chief Karen DeSalvo said that anyone who contacts Google’s offices and facilities will need a negative molecular test. Said. He also notes that he needs to report vaccination status and wear a surgical mask while in the office.
“Omicron variants have become the predominant strain in the United States at the time and are highly contagious,” Desalvo wrote. “Infections are increasing significantly across the country, and hospitals are overwhelmed by COVID patients, reducing their ability to provide care to others in need.”
Google has recently become more active than its peers in implementing Covid-19 safety measures for workers. Last month, the company told its employees that they had to adhere to vaccine policies or face losing wages and ultimately losing their jobs. It showed a change by executives who said the company did not mandate vaccines just a few months ago.
Hundreds of Google employees have signed and circulated a manifesto against the company’s expanded Covid-19 vaccine obligations.
When it comes to testing, Google is preparing for such a moment. In April, Google began offering Covid-19 tests to employees at home from Cue Health. This is the test company’s largest private sector customer.
Four months later, Google’s cloud division signed another deal with Cue to develop real-time variant tracking and sequencing for Covid-19. This is a partnership that provides Google with unique access to testing and variant data.
“We expect this to continue in the coming weeks,” DeSalvo added, adding that the new test rules are temporary. “It’s a policy issue to get weekly molecular tests (PCR, cues, etc.) if you come to the office during this time of high risk.”
DeSalvo reminds employees that Google offers free home and face-to-face virus testing options for both full-time staff and an expanded workforce, including temporary, vendor, and contractors. I did. A recent report by Bloomberg reported that Google’s expanded workforce had longer wait times for test results than full-time workers.
In an email to CNBC, a Google spokeswoman said the company “is implementing new temporary health and safety measures for everyone who visits sites in the United States,” “enabling the workplace and community.” We have introduced a policy to “make it as safe as possible”.
DeSalvo said molecular testing helps reduce pressure on clinics, schools and pharmacies that are struggling to maintain an inventory of rapid antigen testing supplies.
Google has more than 150,000 full-time employees and nearly the same number of contractors and vendors. As of mid-December, executives said the company had opened 90% of its US offices so far, and in the last few weeks, nearly 40% of its US employees have been to the facility someday.
Google expected employees to return to their actual offices from January, but postponed the plan last month because of concerns about infection rates. However, executives did not name Omicron at the time and still encouraged employees to continue coming “as conditions permit.”
Supreme Court goes in the opposite direction
Federal regulations appear to be moving in the opposite direction while Google is strengthening its mission. The Supreme Court on Thursday prevented the Biden administration from enforcing its drastic vaccine or testing requirements on large private companies. On Mandate, workers in companies with more than 100 employees had to be vaccinated weekly or submit a negative Covid test to get into work by the January 18 deadline.
Google executives use federal requirements as an explanation for implementing internal policies, and that extensive government efforts must be followed by everyone, whether they come to the office or not. Claims to mean.
Google told employees in December that those who did not comply with vaccination rules by January 18 would be put on “paid leave” for 30 days. After that, you will take “unpaid personal leave” for up to 6 months and then cancel.
DeSalvo’s note added more specific safety instructions in the light of Omicron’s surge.
She advised employees to use non-cloth or “high quality surgical masks”. She also said that she should stay home when she feels sick, even if she is “just allergic.” DeSalvo recommended testing as close as possible to the time employees appear at events and offices.
“You may not be showing any symptoms, but you may still be spreading Covid-19 to others,” she wrote.
See: Google employees lose wages and ultimately jobs if they don’t follow vaccination rules
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