If an employee has symptoms when they arrive at work or become sick during the day, they should immediately be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors and sent home. Employees who develop symptoms outside of work should notify their supervisor immediately and stay home.
In most cases, you do not need to shut down your facility. It is suggested however that you 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.
- During this waiting period, open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in these areas.
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-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.
- Always wear gloves and gowns appropriate for the chemicals being used when you are cleaning and disinfecting.
- 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:
- Most workplaces should follow the Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure.
- Critical infrastructure workplaces should follow the guidance Implementing Safety Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Had Exposure to a Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19.
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 and state or local health department.
Employers should not require sick employees to provide a COVID-19 test result or healthcare provider’s note to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or return to work. Healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner.
If questions arise, NCW has outstanding resources to help you find the answers. Please contact Elizabeth Carter, Stewardship Director at 806.322.1718 or Jim Smith, Risk Manager at 806.398.9585.
Sources and more information on this subject:
- Suspected or Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in the Workplace, General Business Frequently Asked Questions (As of 06.29.2020)
- Link for CDC Guidelines for Healthcare Professionals
- Centers for Disease Control Coronavirus main landing page