RESPONDING TO A POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST
Due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19, employers should be prepared to respond if an employee tests positive for the virus. With advance planning, you can promptly respond to your employees’ needs, notify your organization, and implement protocols for moving forward. Below is a general outline of steps to take if an employee tests positive. Every situation is unique; reach out to RBN to develop a plan specific to your organization.
ADDRESS THE EMPLOYEE THAT TESTED POSITIVE
- Professionally and safely contact your employee to discuss the next steps and assure them that you will take appropriate steps to protect their privacy.
- Arrange for your employee to go into self-isolation. Work with your employee and HR / payroll team to determine the type of time off they should take.
- Determine if your employee was at your workplace within the last 7 days and, if so, where they went.
- Establish which other employees and business contacts your employee has been physically in contact with during the past 14 days.
- Refer your employee to health resources and information.
- Communicate any steps (e.g., testing, medical clearance) that the employee will need to take before returning to work.
- 1. Notify employees or customers with whom the employee has had physical contact with during the past 14 days.
- Determine which employees (if any) should be tested or enter a self-isolation protocol. Work with HR and payroll to determine options for time off and / or remote work.
- Inform other employees working at the same site that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19.
- Brief your employees on your next steps, including plans for disinfecting, any changes to workplace distancing protocols, and who they can contact with concerns about their health or safety.
- If required in your jurisdiction, inform your local public health authority.
- Notify your workers’ compensation carrier so they can create a file and conduct any fact-finding that may be necessary.
DISINFECTING THE WORKPLACE
- Close off all areas visited by the COVID-positive employee, open windows, and use fans. After increasing the airflow, wait 24 hours before cleaning. Determine whether the full facility needs to be closed during this time.
- After 24 hours, the cleaning staff should begin disinfecting all areas and equipment used by the person.
- Ensure the cleaning staff uses proper personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, gowns, and face coverings.
- Clean all hard surfaces with soap and water.
- Apply appropriate disinfectants to all surfaces.
- For soft surfaces, the best cleaning practices are similar to those of hard surfaces. Or, you can clean by laundering in the warmest water setting.
- Clean all electronic devices according to the manufacturers’ instructions, with a 70%+ alcohol-based cleaning solution.
- After employees return, resume routine disinfecting procedures.