Governments the world over are relaxing lockdown regulations as economies re-open. Our lives including workplaces have been significantly impacted by the virus. If an employee tests positive for COVID-19 employers need to act responsibly so that the risk can be mitigated to co-workers and they feel more secure. Here we present 5steps to take should an employee test positive.

1
Re-assure & offer support

With so much news all over about Covid-19, an employee is likely anxious when they receive a positive test result. They may be worried about their own health or if they have infected co-workers or their family. It is important as the employer to be supportive and reassure the employee that you will walk the journey together. Being sympathetic will go a long way in assisting a worker cope with the test result.

2
Notify authorities

Covid-19 is a highly infectious and notifiable disease which has to be reported to the Ministry of Health and Child Care. It is likely that when a patient receives their result the Ministry of Health Rapid Response Team have already been notified by the National Reference Lab or the private lab which ran the test. However, just make sure the authorities know. In the event they have not been notified, call their hotline on the toll-free number 2019.

3
Follow-up close contacts

A worker who tests positive for Covid-19 and all their close contacts in the preceding 14 days will have to self-isolate. A positive patient will have to isolate until recovery and close contacts for at least 14 days. Close contacts are defined as people who has been within 6 feet (1.8m) of a positive person for a prolonged time. Close contacts are likely to be co-workers and clients.

It is important to remember that Covid-19 patients have a right to confidentiality and you do not have to divulge their identity unless if it is absolutely necessary in identifying at risk contacts. With the help of the employee, identify and reach out all close contacts so that they can isolate.

This process is smoother if conducted with the assistance of the Ministry of Health Rapid Response Team. All close contacts will need to be tested at the end of their isolation to make sure they are free of the virus.

4
Deep-Clean

The Ministry of Health and Child Care requires that a premise where the positive person was working be fumigated. The workspace(s) used by the person who tested positive should be closed-off and only re-opened after fumigation. It is advisable to engage the services of a professional cleaning company for fumigation.

After disinfection, the area should not be used for at least 24 hours or get advice from the Fumigation Company and Ministry of Health on when it can be re-opened.

5
Inform All Employees

Transparency is of utmost importance as rumours can be malicious and damaging. It is easier if employees learn that a co-worker tested positive from the company. Notify employees on the steps that have and will be taken to allay any fears they may have. Again, keep the employees’ name confidential unless they volunteer to disclose their name.

Protocol For Returning to Work