COVID-19 is spreading and testing, in many states, is increasing. As a result, increasing numbers of employers will be faced with the reality of an employee testing positive for COVID-19. When that happens, what’s an employer to do? Below are some FAQs about COVID-19 in the workplace.
An employee has tested positive. What can an employer do?
Send the employee home immediately. The employer may require a doctor’s note releasing the employee to return to work, although the CDC has asked employers to consider foregoing such documentation due to current healthcare constraints. If the employer chooses to forego the medical release to work, the CDC has provided that employees should not return to work until they are free of fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and any other COVID-19-related symptoms for at least 24 hours. The CDC has indicated that healthcare professionals diagnosed with COVID-19 may return to work after seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared AND after three days have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms.
The employer should consider a deep clean of the employee’s workplace, including common areas. The employer has the option to notify the diagnosed employee’s co-workers of the diagnosis, without releasing the employee’s name. A sample notice is below: