COVID-19 | August 2020

Back to Work, Safely

In the event of a positive test result, we hope to provide the information needed to make important decisions regarding the readiness of your workforce. The following is based on the latest (as of writing this memo), official public health recommendations. Please feel free to distribute as you see fit.

I’m an employee and my results were positive. What should I do?

  • Most cases of COVID-19 are mild.
  • Even if you are not experiencing any symptoms, consult your primary care physician as soon as possible.
  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face—seek emergency medical care immediately. More common symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, cough, and diarrhea.
  • Maintain distance, wash hands frequently, and wear a mask around other people when possible.
  • Get well soon, at home, until it’s safe for you to work around others.

When can I get back to work?

Employees may consider returning to work according to the following criteria:

  • Healthy individuals who tested positive without symptoms throughout their infection may return to work when at least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive viral diagnostic test.
  • People who experienced mild to moderate illness, and who are NOT severely immunocompromised may return to work if the following 3 criteria are met:

    • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared AND
    • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
    • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved.

Those at risk and those whose illness was acute should consult their treating physician before returning to work.

The above guidelines should not take the place of proper medical care. Your primary care physician will help assess your ability to return to work in the context of your own medical history.

I am the employer, and one of my employees tested positive or displays symptoms.

  • In the case of sick or symptomatic employees, it would be best to separate them from further contact with others by sending them home. Employees who develop symptoms outside of work should notify their supervisor.
  • Limit access and, if possible, wait at least 24hr to decontaminate any contaminated workspaces, to avoid the risk of exposure.
  • Minimize risk by managing prolonged exposure. Less than 6 feet and more than 15 minutes indicates heightened social distancing and, preferably, a home quarantine. More on the specific CDC recommendations here and here. Local health officials may be able to help with contact tracing when needed.
  • Communicate the availability of health resources such as testing and telemedicine.

Maintain distance, wash hands frequently, and wear a mask around other people when possible.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention