The Covid-19 pandemic is still present and shows no signs of going away soon. Each day, you require your employees to certify that they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and have not been in contact with a person who has COVID-19. However, an employee may develop symptoms of COVID-19 at work or learn at work that they have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19. The CDC strongly urges employers follow these guidelines when an employee tests positive for COVID-19, has symptoms of COVID-19 or may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19:
Employees who have symptoms when they arrive at work or become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors and sent home. Employees who develop symptoms outside of work should notify their supervisor and stay home.
Sick employees should follow CDC-recommended steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Employees should not return to work until they have met the criteria to discontinue home isolation and have consulted with a healthcare provider.
In most cases, you do not need to shut down your facility. But do close off any areas used for prolonged periods of time by the sick person:
- Wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting to minimize potential for other employees being exposed to respiratory droplets. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
Follow the CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations:
- Clean dirty surfaces with soap and water before disinfecting them.
- To disinfect surfaces, use products that meet EPA criteria for use against SARS-Cov-2external icon, the virus that causes COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.
- Be sure to follow the instructions on the product labels to ensure safe and effective use of the product.
- You may need to wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE) depending on the setting and disinfectant product you are using.
In addition to cleaning and disinfecting, employers should determine which employees may have been exposed to the virus and need to take additional precautions:
Sick employees should follow CDC-recommended steps. Employees should not return to work until they have met the criteria to discontinue home isolation and have consulted with a healthcare provider. Antibody test results should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace.
In New York State, essential workers and their employers are expected to comply with previously issued DOH guidance regarding return to work after a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or after the employee had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19. Additionally, the employer will be required to assist with contact tracing and should assist State and Local Government in that regard. The employee’s identity must remain confidential throughout this process. If you have questions regarding this or other COVID-19 related issues, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.