A Patient's 65 Coworkers Are In Quarantine. Health Official Issues A ‘Word Of Caution’ To Employers.
One of Greene County’s latest cases is a person who worked while sick, according to Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director, Clay Goddard.
“Now, 65 of that patient’s co-workers are under quarantine order. 13 of those are symptomatic and have been referred to testing. This very well could be our next round of positive cases,” Goddard said Friday afternoon.
This prompted the county’s top public health official to issue a “word of caution” to employers: think of your employees, not just your customers, during this difficult time.
“I would recommend screening for, and excluding, employees who are sick, employing physical distancing when possible, hand-washing, and other health and safety practices,” Goddard said.
The news comes on the same day that Missouri saw its largest number of new positive cases statewide since the pandemic began—more than 400 new cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, has a wealth of information for businesses and organizations on how to plan for and respond to the pandemic. To see the full list of those guidelines, you can click here.
The CDC website includes the following:
Actively encourage sick employees to stay home:
- Employees who have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor and stay home.
- Sick employees should follow CDC-recommended steps. Employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.
- Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and follow CDC recommended precautions.
Separate sick employees:
- Employees who appear to have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors and sent home.
- If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, 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). The employer should instruct fellow employees about how to proceed based on the CDC Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure.
Educate employees about how they can reduce the spread of COVID-19:
- Employees can take steps to protect themselves at work and at home. Older people and people with serious chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for complications.
- Follow the policies and procedures of your employer related to illness, cleaning and disinfecting, and work meetings and travel.
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
- Inform your supervisor if you have a sick family member at home with COVID-19. Learn what to do if someone in your house is sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Learn more about coughing and sneezing etiquette on the CDC website.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs. Dirty surfaces can be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfection. To disinfect, use products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2external icon, the cause of COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.
- Avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
- Practice social distancing by avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.