Rockingham County Health and Human Services
Felissa Ferrell
Director of Health and Human Services
Felissa Ferrell
Director of Social Services
Susan Young, BSN,RN
Interim Health Director
 
 
 

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Employers and Businesses
Should I Re-Open My Business?
The  Resuming Business Toolkit
 is designed to assist employers in slowing the spread of COVID-19 [1] and lowering the impact in their workplace when reintegrating employees into non-healthcare business settings. Not sure whether you’re ready to resume business? Use CDC’s decision tools [2-3] as a start.

The toolkit contains the following materials:
-Employer Sheet
-Restart Readiness Checklist
-Worker Protection Tool
-Returning to Work Infographic
-Resources

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility

What should I do if an employee comes to work with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath)?

Employees who have symptoms when they arrive at work or become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors and sent home. Employees who develop symptoms outside of work should notify their supervisor and stay home.

Sick employees should follow CDC-recommended steps. Employees should not return to work until they have met the criteria to discontinue home isolation and have consulted with a healthcare provider and state or local health department.

Employers should not require sick employees to provide a COVID-19 test result or healthcare provider’s note to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or return to work. Healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner.

What should I do if an employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19?

In most cases, you do not need to shut down your facility. But do close off any areas used for prolonged periods of time by the sick person:

  • Wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting to minimize potential for other employees being exposed to respiratory droplets. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
  • During this waiting period, open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in these areas.

Follow the CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations:

  • Clean dirty surfaces with soap and water before disinfecting them.
  • To disinfect surfaces, use products that meet EPA criteria for use against SARS-Cov-2external iconexternal icon, the virus that causes COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.
  • Always wear gloves and gowns appropriate for the chemicals being used when you are cleaning and disinfecting.
  • You may need to wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE) depending on the setting and disinfectant product you are using.

In addition to cleaning and disinfecting, employers should determine which employees may have been exposed to the virus and need to take additional precautions:

Sick employees should follow CDC-recommended steps. Employees should not return to work until they have met the criteria to discontinue home isolation and have consulted with a healthcare provider and state or local health department.

If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


If employees have been exposed but are not showing symptoms, should I allow them to work?

Employees may have been exposed if they are a “close contact” of someone who infected, which is defined as being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time:

  • Potentially exposed employees who have symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate and follow CDC recommended steps.
  • Potentially exposed employees who do not have symptoms should remain at home or in a comparable setting and practice social distancing for 14 days.

All other employees should self-monitor for symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath. If they develop symptoms, they should notify their supervisor and stay home.

See Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure for more information.

To ensure continuity of operations of essential functions, CDC advises that critical infrastructure workersexternal iconexternal icon may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain symptom-free and additional precautions are taken to protect them and the community.

  • Critical infrastructure businesses have an obligation to limit, to the extent possible, the reintegration of in-person workers who have been exposed to COVID-19 but remain symptom-free in ways that best protect the health of the worker, their co-workers, and the general public.
  • An analysis of core job tasks and workforce availability at worksites can allow the employer to match core activities to other equally skilled and available in-person workers who have not been exposed.
  • A critical infrastructure worker who is symptom-free and returns to work should wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure. Employers can issue facemasks or can approve employees’ supplied cloth face coverings in the event of shortages.

See Implementing Safety Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Had Exposure to a Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 for more information.

What should I do if I find out several days later, after an employee worked, that they were diagnosed with COVID-19?

  • If it has been less than 7 days since the sick employee used the facility, clean and disinfect all areas used by the sick employee following the CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations.
  • If it has been 7 days or more since the sick employee used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary. Continue routinely cleaning and disinfecting all high-touch surfaces in the facility.
  • Other employees may have been exposed to the virus if they were in “close contact” (within approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) of the sick employee for a prolonged period of time.
  • Employees not considered exposed should self-monitor for symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath. If they develop symptoms, they should notify their supervisor and stay home.

When should an employee suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 return to work?

Sick employees should follow steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick. Employees should not return to work until they meet the criteria to discontinue home isolation and have consulted with a healthcare provider and state or local health department.

Employers should not require sick employee to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or healthcare provider’s note to return to work. Employees with COVID-19 who have stayed home can stop home isolation and return to work when they have met one of the following sets of criteria:

  • Option 1: If, in consultation with a healthcare provider and local public health authorities knowledgeable about locally available testing resources, it is determined an employee will not have a test to determine if they are still contagious, the employee can leave home and return to work after these three conditions have been met:
    • The employee has had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is, 3 full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
      AND
    • respiratory symptoms have improved (for example, cough or shortness of breath have improved)
      AND
    • at least 10 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared
  • Option 2: If, in consultation with a healthcare provider and local public health authorities knowledgeable about locally available testing resources, it is determined the employee will be tested to determine if the employee is still contagious, the employee can leave home after these three conditions have been met:
    • The employee no longer has a fever (without the use of medicine that reduces fevers)
      AND
    • respiratory symptoms have improved (for example, cough or shortness of breath have improved)
      AND
    • they received two negative tests in a row, at least 24 hours apart. Their doctor should follow CDC guidelines.


Do my employes need to wear cloth face coverings or personal protective equipment (PPE) (such as N95 respirators, gloves) to protect themselves while working?

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community transmission. Cloth face coverings may prevent people who don’t know they have the virus from transmitting it to others. These face coverings are not surgical masks or respirators and are not appropriate substitutes for them in workplaces where masks or respirators are recommended or required.

Employees should continue to follow their routine policies and procedures for PPE (if any) that they would ordinarily use for their job tasks. When cleaning and disinfecting, employees should always wear gloves and gowns appropriate for the chemicals being used. Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) may be needed based on setting and product.

CDC does not recommend the use of PPE in workplaces where it is not routinely recommended. Facilities can use the hierarchy of controls, such as administrative, and engineering controls – these strategies are even more effective at preventing exposures than wearing PPE.


What is social distancing and how can my workplace do that?

Social distancing means avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (at least 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible. Strategies that businesses could use include:

  • Allowing flexible worksites (such as telework)
  • Allowing flexible work hours (such as staggered shifts)
  • Increasing physical space between employees at the worksite
  • Increasing physical space between employees and customers (such as a drive-through and partitions)
  • Implementing flexible meeting and travel options (such as postponing non-essential meetings or events)
  • Downsizing operations
  • Delivering services remotely (e.g., phone, video, or web)
  • Delivering products through curbside pick-up or delivery


       
       
       
       
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