With the recent increase of cases in Brazos County, the Brazos County Health District has received many questions regarding COVID-19 positive cases and what employer’s responsibilities are to their employees and customers to keep them safe. Below is a list of those questions/answers:
What to do if I have had a positive case at my business?
- Identify all employees who may have had close contact with the positive case
- Do not allow an employee or contractor with known close contact to a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19 to return to work until the end of the 14 day self-quarantine period from the last date of exposure. For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/contact-tracing/contact-tracing-plan/contact-tracing.html)
- If both individuals were wearing a cloth mask/covering, then the contact is considered low risk. The contact does not need to quarantine, but should closely monitor themselves for any COVID-19 symptoms and immediately report any symptoms to their employer. They should follow the employer return to work guidelines.
- You should thoroughly sanitize the area where the positive employee was working.
- If you are not already, beginning conducting a health screening of all employees so that other employees who were not close contacts remain healthy as they are working.
If I send close contacts of the COVID-19 positive employee home, what should they be doing while they are self-quarantining for 14 days from their last contact with the positive case?
- They should monitor themselves daily for symptoms
- If they have a thermometer, they should check and record their temperature twice a day
- Contact a healthcare provider immediately if they:
- Feel feverish or have a temperature of 100.4⁰F or higher
- Develop a cough or shortness of breath
- Develop mild symptoms like sore throat, muscle aches, tiredness, or diarrhea
- Avoid contact with high-risk individuals (unless they live in the same home and had the same exposure)
- Do not go out to public locations or interact with individuals outside their residence
- If they cannot socially distance from other members of the residence, it is recommended they wear a cloth face mask to reduce the chance of transmission
What are the proactive things I can do to prevent close contact with employees at my business?
- Conduct a daily health screening to monitor employees and exclude those who are showing any symptoms of COVID-19
- Social distance as much as possible at the workplace
- When social distancing is not possible, all parties should properly wear a cloth face mask to protect others. This will help prevent the transmission of disease where a future positive case passes it on while they are asymptomatic.
- Frequently wash and sanitize hands – being careful not to touch your face.
- Educate your employees to not only follow these practices in their work lives but also in their personal lives as they are shopping, meeting with friends, attending functions, etc.
- For the protocols and guidelines businesses should be following as they are opening and conducting business you can go to the Operation Restart page at the BCHD website: http://brazoshealth.org/operationrestart