Response to Potential Exposure Incidents
Consult guidance from state and local public health departments. Also, encourage employees to self-report if they have been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19.
If an employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, request self-quarantine or mandatory quarantine according to CDC guidelines and any quarantine/isolation orders from federal, state, or local health authorities.
Consider requiring medical clearance from a doctor before the employee returns to the workplace, but note that this may delay return because health care providers will be overwhelmed; consider instead requiring employees be completely symptom-free and past the incubation period before returning.
Excerpt from the Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 Checklist:
As of May 4, 2020, guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are as follows:
Employees with symptoms who have not been tested (or are waiting for test results) should stay home until at least three full days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (no fever without use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms) AND at least 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms.
Employees with symptoms who have lab-confirmed COVID-19 should stay home until:
- At least three full days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (no fever without use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms) AND at least 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms.
- There is no fever without use of fever-reducing medications AND improvement in respiratory symptoms AND there are negative results (showing no COVID-19) on at least two consecutive lab tests of respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart.
Employees with symptoms and a negative lab test for COVID-19 should keep monitoring their symptoms and seek medical advice about staying home and if they need to get tested again.
Employees without symptoms who have lab-confirmed COVID-19 should stay home until:
- At least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive test. However, if they develop symptoms in that time period, they should revert to the criteria for employees with symptoms (above).
- There are negative results (showing no COVID-19) on at least two consecutive lab tests of respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart.
Notice to other employees if a team member has been diagnosed with COVID-19:
Ask the affected employee to identify all individuals (co-workers, contractors, customers, clients, vendors) who have worked in close proximity with the employee before the onset of symptoms to the present.
Inform other employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace, but keep the identity of the infected or exposed individual confidential. Although your employer cannot disclose your identity and medical information, your employer should inform your workplace that an employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and identify steps taken to address the issue. The CDC states that employers “should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).” While your employer may reach out to folks in your department to evaluate potential exposure, your employer must reasonably avoid other references that would permit a manager or co-worker to guess that you have been infected.
Assess sick leave and medical leave policies in light of new legislation, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and any applicable state paid sick leave laws. Consider revising leave policies to accommodate employees’ potential need for leave due to quarantines, isolation orders, or school closures related to COVID19 .
Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection if an employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19
1. Do they have prior experience with you have prior experience with biohazard / COVID-19 cleaning?
2. What type of training do the employees have and are they certified?
3. Is the business insured?
4. What type of PPE will employees wear?
5. What types of chemicals will they use?
6. What cleaning techniques will be implemented?
7. How quickly can they start cleaning if you had an employee with COVID-19 today?
Return to Work Policies
Consult guidance from CDC and state and local health authorities before allowing the employee to return to work.
Ohio Department of Health Businesses/Employers – COVID-19 Checklist https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/checklists/english-checklists/businesses-employers-covid-19-checklist
CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html.
COVID-19 Information for Businesses: https://www.tpchd.org/healthy-people/diseases/covid-19-information-for- businesses.