Actions When Staff Have Exposure or Test Positive to COVID-19


What to do when a medical provider or staff member is exposed to COVID-19?

Currently CDC advises that critical infrastructure workers may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community.

A potential exposure means having close contact within 6 feet of an individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. The contact timeframe is 48 hours before the individual became symptomatic.

Critical Infrastructure workers who have had an exposure but remain asymptomatic should adhere to the following practices prior to and during their work shift:

  • Pre-Screen: Employers should measure the employee’s temperature and assess symptoms prior to them starting work, ideally before the individual enters the facility.
  • Regular Monitoring: As long as the employee doesn’t have a fever or symptoms, they should self-monitor under the supervision of their employer’s occupational health program.
    1. If the employee develops any symptoms they should be sent home immediately and COVID-19 testing should be considered.
    2. The staff member should seek medical attention immediately if they develop warning signs for COVID-19 such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse or bluish lips or face.
  • Contact Information: Information should be compiled on persons who had contact with the ill employee up to 2 days prior to their start of symptoms
  • Wear a Mask: The employee should wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure.
  • Social Distance: The employee should maintain 6 feet and practice social distancing as work duties permit in the workplace including breakrooms.
  • Disinfect and Clean work spaces: Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment routinely.
  • No sharing: Employees should not share headsets or other objects that are near mouth or nose.


What to do when a medical provider or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?

  • Report: The positive result will be communicated to the primary care provider.  The test result should be sent to the local health department to assist with contact tracing.
  • Cease working: The medical provider/staff member should cease providing health care services immediately and should quarantine and monitor symptoms for 14 days. They should seek medical attention immediately if any symptoms worsen.
  • Clean: Clean and disinfect environmental surfaces in the facility and especially their work space.
  • Inform: The medical provider should inform staff and patients of the potential exposure to the COVID-19 person in the last 14 days. Contact all patients who may have had contact with the COVID-19 positive individual to determine whether they’re symptomatic. Recommend that they self-quarantine for 14 days and notify their physician if symptoms develop.
    1. Risk Assessment with helpful detailed questions:
      • a. What was the date of the last contact?
      • b. How long was the contact?
      • c. What was the approximate distance of the contact?
      • d. Are they experiencing symptoms?
  • Other staff: See above guidelines on staff exposure to COVID-19.  Consider testing of unaffected staff and document all test results.  Continue to monitor them symptomatically daily.
  • Emergency Plan: If the practice needs to be closed due to COVID-19, follow office protocols to address the emergency/urgent care needs of their patients.
  • Return to Work: The provider/staff member should be excluded from work until:
    1. Resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND
    2. Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath AND
    3. Two consecutive negative results >24 hours apart of an FDA Emergency Use Authorized COVID-19 molecular assay by nasopharyngeal swab.

Always be aware of and comply with your local governing Health Department regulations and guidelines for quarantine and contact tracing which may supercede these recommendations.

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