The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the way we work almost everywhere in the world. And because of it, many industries have been affected, resulting in the interrupted flow of operations and newer ways of dealing with the fallout.
Today, one of the main challenges for employers and business owners is maintaining their operations amid a highly contagious virus.
Maintaining smooth business operations in the wake of a global pandemic requires taking care of employees. That’s why many business owners right now might be asking what they should do if any of their employees tests positive for Covid-19.
A Challenge for Business Owners
Dealing with an employee who just tested positive for Covid-19 can be a complex challenge for employers. You’re losing an employee for a number of days, perhaps even weeks and there’s really no telling when you can actually expect them back at full capacity. This means taking that employee’s tasks and parceling them out to other employees so they can pick up the slack and keep operations going.
Another is the fear and apprehension among the existing staff in the workplace. Anyone who may have come in contact with the sick employee will rightly be worried because they’re not sure if they’ve been infected too.
Of course, these people will also need to take tests and possibly undergo quarantine for a set period to ensure that the infection, even asymptomatic, doesn’t spread further. This can mean an even greater strain on performance and productivity across the board.
What You Can Do as the Employer
The first thing to note is that this situation requires sympathy and sensitivity to your employee’s situation. This is a time to show your employees that your company prioritizes the health of its employees and their families.
Second, you’ll have to initiate the protocols you’ve put in place for this type of situation. It’s best to come up with protocols before a situation like this even happens. That way, you can curb the transmission of the virus immediately so that you can protect your other employees and still maintain your business operations.
When an Employee Is Covid-19 Positive
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if you have an employee suspected or positive for Covid-19 within the last 24 hours, you should clean and disinfect your facility. You should also note the particular places they have spent most of their time in, so you’ll know where to focus your cleaning and disinfection.
Before Cleaning and Disinfection
However, before cleaning and disinfecting your workplace, remember to close off the areas that your sick employee has been. And don’t allow anyone to use the areas until they have been properly cleaned and disinfected. Also, remember to wait for several hours (or as long as you can hold it off without affecting your workplace’s operations) before cleaning and disinfecting the areas.
During Cleaning and Disinfection
While your facility is being cleaned and disinfected, ensure that the doors and windows are open for good ventilation. Also, use fans or, if your workplace has it, HVAC settings to improve the air circulation.
Ask the cleaners to wear personal protective equipment, like masks and gloves. And prioritize the areas that were used by the sick employee when cleaning and disinfecting.
If applicable to the workspace, use a vacuum with HEPA filters and bags, if possible. Also, to ensure efficient cleaning and disinfection, use products from EPA List N. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that the products on these lists are efficient in killing the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), as long as they’re used correctly and according to the directions on the product label.
When Can the Employee Return to Work?
Once an employee tests positive for Covid-19, advise them to follow the steps given by the CDC to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Employees can go back to work once they’ve met the criteria to discontinue home isolation and after they’ve consulted with a physician.
The general criteria for the discontinuation of home isolation are as follows:
- At least ten days have passed since the onset of symptoms
- At least twenty-four hours have passed since the alleviation of fever without using medications
- Improvement of other symptoms
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be a challenge for employers. Almost all business owners are busy trying to keep their businesses afloat. And on top of that, they’re also finding ways to take care of their employees better. Since caring for employees is one way to keep business in tip-top shape.
Would you like to know other ways on how to take care of your employees? Well Health Works has been providing healthcare solutions for workplaces for 65 years. Get in touch with us at 833-935-9355 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can begin making a healthy workplace for you.