Why Breathalyzers May NOT Be The Best Option During COVID-19

We have seen many protocols change and adapt to the new normal of COVID-19. In today’s world social distancing, wearing masks and gloves, and working from home have become routine. The alcohol and drug testing industry has also been making adjustments to protocols in order to protect both the test subject and tester, such as sanitizing testing facilities between clients and wearing PPE to administer drug and alcohol tests.

Since COVID-19 is predominantly spread through particles or droplets from coughing and sneezing, avoiding forceful exhales near others is important. Breathalyzers have already been recognized as a potential problem during the pandemic, with Calgary police officers suspending roadside breathalyzer testing for the time being. Alcohol testing must go on, however, in essential industries and courts.

As a screening test, there is an alternative to the breathalyzer that already exists and is approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) – the oral fluid alcohol screen test. The oral fluid test can be administered by the subject, under the supervision of the tester, without any contact required between the two. These one-step tests are sensitive to blood alcohol concentrations above the federally mandated threshold level of 0.02%, and results are provided within 4 minutes, with minimal invasion and risk.

Verify Diagnostics carries a full line of oral fluid alcohol screen tests to keep you safe. You can see it here.

Positive oral fluid tests must still be confirmed by Evidential Breath Testers (EBT), but lowering the risk of COVID-19 transmission at any point during testing is important.

Consider the oral fluid alcohol screen test next time you reach for a breathalyzer. Don’t let anyone breathe moistly next to you.

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