The news: Walgreens rolled out an interactive COVID-19 omicron variant tracker in collaboration with its laboratory testing partner Aegis Sciences, per a joint press release.
The bigger picture: Walgreens could become a primary resource for employers seeking the latest COVID-19 data to determine whether or not it’s safe to return to work, for two key reasons:
1. Employers will want to prepare for short-term staff shortages due to COVID-19. The omicron variant has employees calling out sick in droves, which means large employers are scrambling to fill the staff gaps.
2. The rise in COVID-19 cases could be correlated with long-term job vacancies.
Zooming out: Some companies are planning to return to in-person or hybrid work sometime soon, which means along with COVID-19 trackers, return-to-work platforms could see a rise in adoption by employers this year.
For example, Apple is requiring both corporate and store employees to get the booster shot in addition to vaccinations in order to return to the workplace by Jan 24—and unvaccinated employees will have to show negative COVID-19 rapid test results.
Companies restarting hybrid/in-person work models will need better systems in place to track booster shots and rapid tests, which makes tech platforms like Walgreens’ COVID-19 tracker and Verily’s Healthy at Work program attractive options for large employers.