So, an employee calls and says they tested positive for COVID-19. What next?
We absolutely want to keep sick employees out, but we’re also seeing a lot of reports from panicked employees who think they need to stay out because of casual contact with someone who claims to have COVID-19. There’s just a lot of hearsay and anxiety, so we want to understand these facts just to be sure it’s an actual positive.
As an employer, it's not your responsibility to report a COVID positive to the department of health. The testing lab or ordering physician will report it to the department of health. If you do get contacted by the department of health, check out our Contact Tracing Action Plan for next steps.
This is longer than the actual sick person (who is excluded 10 days, including three without symptoms and not using medicine to reduce their fever). That's because the sick person's close contacts could pick up the virus on day one or on day five - we just don’t know! So, we exclude them for the full 14 days to be sure.
You want to respect your sick employee's privacy, but we also know that coworkers will talk, and more communication is better to avoid unnecessary panic. The CDC recommends telling coworkers that an employee is sick, without sharing their name.
Here are some key talking points to discuss with staff (and we highly recommend doing this in person or by phone, rather than in an email that can be forwarded or shared):
It’s important to note that right now, the CDC isn’t recommending that the whole staff who worked with that employee are quarantined. Only roommates or family members, or people who had close physical contact (within 6 feet for 30+ minutes) with that person need to be quarantined under the current guidelines.
Even though there is far greater risk of person-to-person contact, a thorough sanitizing never hurt! It also serves to make nervous employees feel like they’re taking action. See the Zedic App for a full Coronavirus Sanitizing Protocol including a printable checklist.
Now more than ever. Try implementing a “handwashing captain” on each shift who rings a bell at the top of the hour to remind people to wash their hands an extra time.
We know that questions will continue to come up, and many of these guidelines will change over time. They’ve already changed twice since last week! We’re working closely with our team of epidemiologists, doctors, nurses, and with the CDC and local health departments to continue to bring you the most up to date information. Chat in to Zedic with any questions, to check that your info is up to date, or to talk through your company’s response to COVID-19! We’re here to help.