What to Do If an Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives and has changed how we go about our routines. Adjusting to the “new normal” has indeed been challenging.
Perhaps it has been doubly demanding for employers and business owners who have to think of keeping their businesses afloat while ensuring that their employees and customers stay safe during the crisis. Most businesses have had employees working remotely during the lockdown while some still have workers commuting to work.
However, what if, despite diligent precautionary measures, you end up with a COVID-19 positive employee situation on your hands? As an employer, what can you do?
Here, we walk you through the process of ensuring as best you can, no further spread of the virus in order to protect yourself, your customers, and your employees:
Employee Positive For Covid-19 - First Response
It is important to have protocols in place in order to avoid any panic or confusion in your workplace.
If an employee experiences COVID-19 symptoms. Regardless of where they get sick - at home or during work hours, they should immediately notify you or their immediate supervisor.
When at home, they should isolate themselves away from the other members of their family.
If they experience symptoms during work hours, they should immediately be separated from other company employees, customers, vendors, and visitors and be sent home.
A COVID-19 confirmed employee or employees should not return to work, even if they are asymptomatic, until declared virus free by their healthcare provider and in consultation with state and local health departments.
An employee who lives with a family member found to be COVID-19 positive should likewise notify you or their immediate supervisor, and stay in home isolation until declared virus free.
Employee Positive For Covid-19 - Safety for Other Employees, Customers or Visitors
It is important to take extra precaution to avoid the spread of the virus to other employees, your customers, or visitors to your workplace.
If you have a COVID-19 positive employee, it is important to maintain confidentiality (as stipulated by Americans with Disability Act) while also informing other employees of possible exposure to the virus.
Employees should self monitor for symptoms and immediately report to you should they experience symptoms.
As an employer, it’s crucial to identify in which area the COVID-19 positive employee worked and identify all his/her contacts during the 14 days prior to testing positive or initially displaying symptoms.
As part of the containment procedure, an employer should notify all the sick employee’s contacts (co-workers, customers, visitors, or vendors) within the 14 days prior to testing positive or initially displaying symptoms.
Employees should not return to work until the criteria to end home isolation are met.
Workplace Safety After an Incident of a COVID-19 Positive Employee
Evaluate the potential risk of exposure and the size of your workplace. If the risk is high that virus can easily spread, you should consider immediately closing down your office, factory or warehouse. If you have not done it yet, have all your employees work remotely if possible.
With all employees out of the workplace, arrange for a decontamination of the whole place regardless if you had a person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 in your facility.
General Guidelines on How to Clean and Disinfect Workplace After Incidence of COVID-19 Positive Employee or Employees
Close off all areas visited by the ill person/persons. Open all doors and windows and use ventilating fans to air out the area. We highly recommend waiting 24 hours or longer before commencing cleaning and disinfecting operations.
Cleaning personnel should pay close attention to these areas - offices, bathrooms and common areas. They should also disinfect any equipment used by the ill person/persons including tablets, touch screens, remote controls, keyboards, etc.
Special care should be given to frequently touched surfaces but often overlooked such as doorknobs, pulls, or handles.
For Hard, Non-porous Surfaces
Surfaces that are dirty should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water before disinfection.
Surfaces should be disinfected with an EPA approved disinfectant.
As an alternative, diluted household bleach solutions may be used if appropriate for the surface. The recommended dilution is as follows:
5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water, or
4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
For Soft, Porous Surfaces (carpeted floors or carpets, drapes, etc)
If there is visible contamination, these should be removed and cleaned with cleaners indicated for these surfaces.
Launder any items that can be laundered according to manufacturer’s instructions. The warmest appropriate water setting should be used. These should be dried completely.
Do not shake items that are to be laundered to avoid dispersing virus into the air.
If laundering is not possible, disinfect with EPA-approved products designed to kill the corona virus that causes COVID-19.
Follow manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting electronic items.
We recommend using wipeable covers for all your electronics.
In the absence of manufacturer’s guidelines, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays for touch screens. Only 70% alcohol is effective against the virus. Avoid damage by thoroughly allowing surfaces to dry.
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and Hand Hygiene for Cleaning Staff
Cleaning staff should wear disposable gloves and gowns for all tasks in the cleaning process, including handling trash.
Additional PPE should be used depending on the cleaning/disinfectant products being used and whether there is a risk of splash.
Gloves and gowns should be removed as carefully as possible to avoid contamination of the wearer and of the surrounding area.
In absence of gowns, aprons, work uniforms or coveralls may be used but should be laundered afterwards. As always, hands should be sanitized after handling dirty laundry.
Safety Practices For All Employees
The corona virus is transmitted from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person infected with COVID-19 coughs or exhales.
The droplets can land on objects and surfaces around the person. By touching these objects or surfaces, then touching the eyes, nose or mouth, other people may likewise contract the disease.
Because of how it is transmitted, the following safety and hygiene practices should be emphasized to all employees:
Wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds. Handwashing should be done:
After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
After using the restroom
Before eating or preparing food
After contact with animals or pets
Alternately, use 70% alcohol or alcohol based sanitizers to disinfect hands.
Avoid touching the eyes, mouth, or nose with unwashed hands.
Employee Positive For Covid-19 - Five Star Restoration Can Help
COVID-19 is a highly infectious and deadly disease. If you have an employee or employees who tested positive for the disease, it is important to have your workplace decontaminated to avoid further spread of the virus.
Protect yourself, your customers and other employees by having professionals handle the cleaning and disinfection of your facility.
Five Star Restoration offers COVID-19 decontamination service. We have experienced technicians and specialized equipment to handle the job quickly and safely.
Call us today at (951) 368-2227.
We are open and available to help you 24X7 during this COVID-19 Safe At Home Quarantine
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