If an employee tests positive, the best thing you can do is be prepared. A clearly defined plan can prove invaluable in getting your business back up and running quickly.
Emergency Temporary Standard
In July, the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) and Virginia Department of Labor and Industry adopted an emergency standard which dictates key procedures and safety protocols for employers to have in place. These guidelines outline all of the employer’s responsibilities with regard to COVID-19.
Cleaning & Sanitization
If the employee has been in your business within seven days:
- Close off areas that they used for long periods of time such as work stations.
- Wait 24 hours (or as long as possible) and then clean and disinfect the space.
- Open windows or outside doors to increase air circulation.
If the employee has not been in your business within the past seven days then additional cleaning and disinfecting beyond the normal routine is not necessary.
When an employee tests positive, there are a number of people who need to be notified. Establishing an effective communication system before you actually need it can help the communication process go smoothly following a COVID-19 exposure. While being mindful of employee privacy laws, including HIPAA, employers are required to notify, within 24 hours of an employee testing positive, the following:
- Any additional employees who may have been exposed (while maintaining the confidentiality of the person who tested positive).
- Other employers whose employees were present at the same site during the same period (such as contractors).
- The building/facility owner so that they may notify all necessary tenants.
- The Virginia Department of Health.
- If there are three (3) or more cases at your businesses within a 14-day period, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry must also be notified.
Resuming Business Toolkit
In order to help facilitate the safest reopening process for businesses, the CDC has created a Resuming Business Toolkit which offers resources for employers,
- View the Restart Readiness Checklist here.
- View the full toolkit here.
- View additional guidance for small businesses from the CDC here.
Virginia has compiled a business-specific FAQ section that helps outline key issues for employers to help them navigate through this process.