Preventing and Managing a COVID Outbreak: Week 2 - What to do When an Employee is Exposed


During this time of Coronavirus I have helped over 30 business owners manage COVID policies in their workplaces including a few who have needed to quarantine staff due to COVID exposure. One of the most stressful times for all of us has been when the business owner has an employee who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, or if one of their employees has tested positive. This gave me the idea to put together this series for business owners who are caught in that stressful time and are not sure what exactly to do.


Last week we covered what to include in an Infectious Disease and Preparedness Response Plan. This week we talk about when an employee is positive and the next steps to take. In the coming weeks we will cover administering leave, and the last week will go over how to bring employees back to work. Looking forward to working with you! If you have any questions along the way, feel free to email me!





OMG! What do I do now?

First, I just want to acknowledge that this is a super stressful thing to deal with, but there are resources available to you, and myself and others have helped plenty of businesses in this community through this process. We're here for you.


Step 1: COVID Positive Employee

Isolate: When an employee reports a positive test to you, you should follow the guidance of the CDC and require the employee to remain in isolation until they are symptom free for 3 days.


Administer Leave; The employee qualifies for leave through the FFRCA which you must administer to them. This leave is tax deductible.


Step 2: Your Other Employees

ID Close Contacts: Identify which of your other employees have been in close contact with the COVID positive employee. Close contact means that they were within 6 feet of each other for 15 minutes or more regardless of whether they were wearing a mask.


Quarantine: Follow the guidance of the CDC and require those employee to quarantine for 14 days. Due to testing limitations they may or may not be able to obtain a test during that time. Due to the unreliability of testing, it is best for the employee to stay in quarantine even if they test negative. If one of your employees reports that a member of their household has tested positive for COVID and that they have been in close contact with that person, the best practice is to quarantine that employee for 14 days.


Administer Leave: These employees qualify for leave through the FFRCA which must be administered to them.


Step 3: Additional Considerations

Depending on the type of workplace you have you may need to consider closing your location for a period of time following a positive COVID test. This information is available through the CDC and California State COVID website. Typically as long as you have removed all of the affected workers from the workplace and disinfected the workplace you may remain open.


Additional Resources

Week 1: Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan


The best sources of information that I have found are the Centers for Disease Control, Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and the California State COVID website, which lists guidelines for specific business segments.


Santa Cruz County COVID 19 Site Specific Plan


Blue Check - an endorsement from Santa Cruz County Public Health that the business follows practices lowering the risk of COVID-19 for staff and customers

Until Next Week. . .

This information should get you started on creating your Infectious Disease and Preparedness and Response Plan. You should have everything you need to put this plan together, but if you need help feel free to reach out.

Also, I know we are doing some pretty heavy work this month, so next month we will be entering Dreamtime. A time to dream our wildest dreams, let our creativity out, and connect with each other. So, if you need something more uplifting in the near future, check it out here.

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