A positive COVID-19 test result can be scary. And it can be particularly alarming as a business owner or manager. But do not panic—it’s important to remain calm and be a leader for your staff. Here are the first five things you need to do when an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
1. Instruct the employee to quarantine
Upon receiving the news, any staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19 should be instructed to self-isolate at home for at least 10 days. Even if the individual is not showing symptoms, they can still be at risk for transmitting the virus to patrons and staff. If the individual is exhibiting symptoms, they may need to quarantine for up to 20 days and should be advised to consult their medical care provider.
2. Identify close contacts
Other employees may have been exposed to the virus if they are determined to be a “close contact” to the infected individual. The CDC defines this as being within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for longer than 15 minutes.
* If you HAVE HAD CLOSE CONTACT with someone (being within 6 feet of the person for at least 15 minutes) who has, is being tested for, or has symptoms of COVID-19, you should: Stay home for 14 days after separating yourself from the ill person, except to get medical care, prescriptions, and food. The guidance of a 14-day quarantine period is still considered the safest way to prevent spreading the infection to others. The CDC now has 2 alternate quarantine periods as outlined below.
10-day quarantine period – No testing required AND only if there are no symptoms during daily monitoring. Monitor symptoms until day 14.
7-day quarantine period – If a PCR or antigen test is negative AND there are no symptoms during daily monitoring. The test may be performed on days 5, 6 or 7 of quarantine but not before. If the test is negative, quarantine can end on day 8 with continued daily monitoring for symptoms until day 14. *source Pima County Health Department
Always be careful not to disclose confidential information.
3. Disinfect premises
The facility will need to be closed for proper cleaning and disinfection to reduce exposure to employees. The CDC recommends waiting 24 hours before beginning the cleaning process to avoid exposing other employees to respiratory droplets. There is a way to reopen faster, however. GermFree can deploy their unique GermClear Process that will treat the entire contents of each room allowing for reentry of the building the same day. The process meets and exceeds the CDC guidelines that all surfaces should be rid of dirt and debris before application of an EPA-approved disinfectant. Proper PPE such as gloves and gowns are worn throughout the cleaning and disinfection process. After professional disinfection service is performed regular daily disinfection should take place routinely with particular attention to high touch surfaces.
4. Determine when the individual can return to work
The CDC has advised employers not to rely on a negative COVID test to allow an employee back at work. Instead, an employee who never develops symptoms can end isolation 10 days after testing positive. An employee with mild symptoms can return to work after 10 days if at least 24 hours have passed without a fever or if other symptoms have improved. Those with more severe symptoms should remain in isolation for 20 days or longer and consult their medical care provider for further instruction.
5. Educate Employees About Safe Practices
Employees should be encouraged to stay home when feeling ill, except to receive medical care. Staff members should also inform management if a member of their household has fallen ill. Use videoconferencing when available and allow for social distance in the workspace. Make sure tissues, trash cans, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes are readily available to all employees and encourage regular handwashing.
If you have experienced a COVID-19 outbreak amongst your staff, call GermFree Disinfecting and schedule your disinfection service today.