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How to Track and Contain COVID-19 Cases in the Workplace; Advice for Employers

Published Jun 08, 2020 by A.J. Mistretta

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As the state and local economy continues to reopen, Houston-area businesses are rightly concerned about protecting the health of their employees and customers as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

But what are the protocols when it comes to tracking cases of the virus in the workplace and what are the parameters of an employer’s actions? The Partnership has developed a comprehensive document to guide companies on these protocols. Managing Covid-19 Cases in the Workplace,  outlines the steps recommended for managing confirmed or suspected cases:

  1. Identify a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19. This is done either by identifying symptoms during screening, employees self-reporting their symptoms or an employee receiving a positive test for Covid-19.
  2. Isolate or quarantine the identified employee until it is safe to go home, or send the employee home. Have the employee isolate for at least 14 days.
  3. Investigate whom the employee had close contact with at least 48 hours prior to having symptoms. The contacts employers should consider could involve third-party vendors or contractors as well as other employees.
  4. Inform the employees or others who had close contact with the suspected or confirmed coronavirus case at the workplace, but do not disclose who the employee is.

The document also includes a flowchart that companies can follow as well as additional guidance on legal questions, digital tools and more. 

Employers are often among the first to know about a positive case since employees will request time off to manage their illness. This gives employers important information that might take public health officials several more days to learn—and that time is valuable in stemming further infections. 

Once an employer is aware of a positive case, they’re encouraged to share this with their local public health agency. Once an employer is aware of a positive case, they’re encouraged to share this with their local public health agency. To share information about work-related cases in the City of Houston or Harris County, please contact the City of Houston Health Department Epidemiology and Disease Reporting Line at (832) 393-5080 or Harris County Public Health at (832) 927-7575.

Click here to read the full document. To learn more about case management in the workplace, watch this webinar