What To Do If Employee Tests Positive For COVID-19
As the pool of “essential workers” continues to grow and Illinois continues to move through the phases of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Plan to Reopen Illinois, it is important that employers establish procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the event an employee tests positive. Implementing procedures to address this scenario will protect your employees from possible infection and will help protect the livelihood of your business.
If a worker tests positive for COVID-19 and has been at work anytime in the 14 days prior to the date of their positive test, it is possible that they have unknowingly exposed others in the workplace. Therefore, employers are recommended to take steps to identify who may have been exposed and prevent further exposure.
First, the employer should develop a list of people who may have been affected by identifying employees who may have been within six feet of the infected worker for a prolonged amount of time (at least 10+ minutes) over the last 14 days. After determining who may have been within six feet of the infected worker over the last 14 days, the employer should notify those individuals of their potential exposure without disclosing the identity of the infected employee. The employer should also notify all employees to inform them of their potential exposure and request that they should self-monitor for symptoms.
The employer should also identify all contractors that were present at the work site over the 14 days prior to the employee testing positive for COVID-19 and inform those contractors that their employees may have been exposed to the virus.
In addition to notifying employees and other individuals who may have been exposed to the virus, it is important that the employer promptly report the case to its Workers’ Compensation carrier.
Finally, while taking steps to notify those who may have been exposed the employer should promptly clean and sanitize the areas where the person with the confirmed case was present and prevent anyone from accessing those areas until those areas have been fully sanitized.
While following the above recommended procedures will help prevent the spread of the virus throughout the workplace and reduce the risk of having to cease operations, it is imperative that employers are cognizant and take precautions to protect the identity of the infected employee. An employer who fails to keep the identity of the infected employee anonymous not only risks negatively affecting employee morale but may also be subject to liability.
For more information on how to address an employee testing positive and for best practices and procedures contact the attorneys at Rock Fusco & Connelly, LLC. We can be reached via email at email@example.com, or by telephone at (312) 494-1000.