COVID-19 HHRC Update: Information for Employers/Employees
August 14, 2020 5:00 pm
Information shared from Grand Country Public Health https://www.co.grand.co.us/COVID19
All data can now be found online using our public dashboard. You can find a link to the dashboard pinned to the top of GCPH’s facebook page or on the website at www.co.grand.co.us/covid19. Once you’re on the website, click on the pie chart icon that says “COVID-19 Data”.
Information for Employers/Employees
It has been found that people who have been infected with COVID-19 can test positive for a prolonged period of time post-infection. This has led to changes in guidance for being released from isolation from a test-based strategy to a symptom-based strategy. Accordingly, a negative test would no longer be required prior to returning to work. Please refer to the information provided below for more details.
If An Employee Becomes COVID-19 Positive
Accumulating evidence supports ending isolation and precautions for persons with COVID-19 using a symptom-based strategy. Specifically, researchers have reported that people with mild to moderate COVID-19 remain infectious no longer than 10-days after their symptoms began, and those with more severe illness or those who are severely immunocompromised remain infectious no longer than 20-days after their symptoms began. Therefore, CDC has updated the recommendations for discontinuing home isolation as follows:
What are an employee’s responsibilities if their COVID-19 test is positive or they have a close COVID contact?
- Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms must remain out of work for at least 10-days* from when their symptoms began and until they have no fever for 24-hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine (antipyretics), and their respiratory symptoms are improving.
- Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 and do not have symptoms must remain out of work for at least 10-days from the date of their positive test.
- Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 need to work with public health to contact trace your social, household and work exposures. Public health will provide letters of isolation for you to use to show you need to stay at home.
- If you have a close contact with a COVID-19 person you may be directed by Public Health to stay at home for 14-days of quarantine. A letter explaining this will be provided by public health and available to present to employers.
- A negative test is not required to return to work.
*A limited number of persons with severe illness may produce replication-competent virus beyond 10-days, that may warrant extending the duration of isolation for up to 20-days after symptom onset. Consider consultation with infection control experts. See Discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions and Disposition of Patients with COVID-19 in Non-Healthcare Settings.
What are a business owners’ /managers’ responsibilities?
- Employees who have had an exposure or positive COVID-19 test may be directed by public health to stay at home. Public Health will provide letters to employee detailing the isolation or quarantine order.
- If notified of an employee’s positive test, managers may tell staff that they might have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 but should not share names.
- Owners/managers should have plans in place to accommodate shifts in staffing that may occur due to isolation and quarantine of workers and their dependents.
- Make sure all employees are informed of policies. Remind all staff that they should be wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, performing excellent hand hygiene, and continuing daily monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19.
- Employees do not need a negative test in order to return to work.
If I go on vacation or have been away from my job, will I need to be tested to return to work?
No, employers should not request testing for you to go back to work. If you feel like you had a significant exposure while you were off work, then contact your primary care physician or local public health to determine if a test is needed. There is no guidance or evidence that supports testing employees to clear them to return to work.