COVID EXPOSURE FAQ


EMPLOYEE COVID EXPOSURE 

Employees that develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 should be sent home immediately. 

The decision to end home isolation or return to work should be made in consultation with their health care provider or as advised by a local Public Health Department of their county in Oregon or California. Here is a list of links to helpful guidance for your employees. 

NOTIFICATION OF YOUR STAFF 

Notify your entire staff within 24 hours of learning of a workplace COVID-19 infection.  

Employers should inform all employees with contact in the exact location, or area where the COVID-positive employee worked, that possible exposure has occurred in the workplace. However, if you are a small business, management may just be the business owner.  

  • Notification should be done without delay and without revealing any confidential medical information such as the name of the employee or any identifying information about the individual who tested positive. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) privacy rules restrict employers from sharing the personal health information of an employee.     

Sample notice to employees about the positive case: 

“We learned [today’s date] that one of our employees has tested positive for COVID-19. We cannot identify the employee who tested positive because of privacy laws. If you develop a flu or other respiratory symptoms including cough, fever, or shortness of breath, DO NOT REPORT TO WORK. Please contact your medical provider at once. Notify [insert company contact] as soon as possible by contacting [name of specific staff member] at (000) 000-0000.” 

TESTING  

Employers and organizations should, but are not required to: Refrain from mandating testing as a condition of employment, or as a condition to return to work, unless testing is being recommended by state or local public health authorities.  

  • The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) does not currently recommend testing people without symptoms of COVID-19 unless the person has been exposed to a presumptive or confirmed case of COVID-19.  
  • The decision to require a test should be made in consultation with a health care provider or local Public Health Department of their county in Oregon and California. 

“CLEARED FOR WORK” MEDICAL RELEASE:  

  • The decision to stop home isolation or return to work should be made in consultation with a health care provider or a local county Public Health Department. 
  • It is recommended that employers should instruct the sick or quarantined employee(s) to remain at home until released by a physician or public health official who can provide a medical release for the employee to return to work.  
  • Employers need to be aware that healthcare providers and medical facilities may be short-staffed during this pandemic and may not be able to provide a medical release in a timely manner. If a doctor’s note releasing the employee is unavailable, follow the CDC guidelines on when an employee may return to work.  
  • NOTE: In Oregon and California, employers may be required to pay any associated costs for an employee to obtain a doctor’s note, but often the local county sends a letter. 

CHECK EMPLOYEE ELIGIBILITY FOR SICK LEAVE  

The employee may be eligible for emergency paid sick leave under the new Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). 

  • Contact Cardinal Services to determine if the employee is eligible for any kind of paid time off under your company policy or under local, state, or federal guidelines.     
  • At this time, the tax credits reimbursing employers for wages paid under the emergency sick leave are set to end on September 31, 2021. However, there is still time to take advantage of these tax credits—great news, if you co-employ with Cardinal—we take care of all the administration, reviewing eligibility, tracking, and tax credits for you!  

DON’T PANIC – CALL US!  

Our HR Specialists are ready to help you with the complex issues and concerns you may have in dealing with COVID-19 affecting your business. We have dedicated COVID-19 web pages with essential pandemic resources and links for both employers and employees. You can also call us with your questions at (800) 342-4742.