Looking to test your employees? Here's what you should know
With the recent spike in coronavirus cases, we’ve received even more questions about testing employees, so our Government Affairs Manager sat down with Chelsea Sweeny of Garnet to talk about the testing services they offer to employers in the region.
Among important things to note are:
- Testing is only a snapshot of a moment in time, and the real work is ensuring consistent adherence to mitigation protocols;
- The more work you do ahead of time to ensure record-keeping for contact tracing, syndromic surveillance, and property separation of your workforce, the more likely you are to successfully deploy and leverage testing services;
- If you believe you may want to use testing in the future, building into your continuity plan and reaching out to a testing provider will make things easier when or if you need the services.
For more information on Garnet’s services, contact Chelsea Sweeney, Director of Business Development at [email protected].
Steps to take if an employee tests positive
- If you learn of a positive case at your business, contact the Health Department’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology team. Call 802-863-7240 (Mon – Fri 7:45am – 4:30pm, choose Option 3. Outside those hours, choose Option 7).
- If you are contacted by the Health Department because a risk has been identified at your business, the team will walk you through the next steps.
- If you believe your establishment has been exposed to COVID-19, please call the Health Department at 802-863-7240.
- The team will follow up with everyone who tests positive, calculate the period of time when they were contagious, and find out what locations they visited during that time. The team works hard to determine which locations may have been at risk, based on their expertise and knowledge of how the virus spreads. You can learn more about the steps the Health Department takes to quickly respond when someone tests positive.
What happens if an employee tests positive?
• Whenever someone tests positive a member of the Contact Tracing Team will reach out to them, go over isolation and work with them to determine who they may have had close contact with.
• If an employee was at work while infectious, someone from the Health Department will also reach out to the business to let them know and work with them to determine the next steps.
• Proof of a negative COVID-19 test should not be required to return to work if you have been diagnosed with COVID19 or are under quarantine.
• The Health Department cannot provide documentation for people to go to work or to stay home.
What to do if an employee or customer tells you that they have tested positive for COVID-19?
• Have them call the Health Department at 802-863-7240
Does an employee need to quarantine if they live with someone who is in isolation?
• In situations where you cannot avoid close contact with someone with COVID-19, you should stay home and away from other people while the person you are caring for is sick. You should also quarantine for 14 days after they are able to end home isolation.
Should all employees get tested?
• In general the Health Department does not recommend broad testing of employees, but because each situation is unique, if someone was at your business while infectious the Health Department will work with you and discuss testing.
Does an employee need to stay home if they are getting tested?
• If they are being tested because they have symptoms of COVID-19, are a close contact to someone who has COVID19, or were recommended for testing, they should stay home and not go out in public even if they are not feeling
• See Waiting for COVID-19 test results? For more information
Additional Documents from the Department of Health
• What to do when your co-worker has COVID-19 (VDH)
• What do I do if my employee tests positive for COVID-19? (VDH)
• What to do if you are a close contact of someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19? (VDH)
• What is isolation, quarantine and self-observation? (VDH)
• Waiting for COVID-19 test results? (VDH)
This content is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. This interview took place on Wednesday, December 7th based on the information that was available at that time. This information may be subject to change in the future.