Monday, October 5, 2020

Coronavirus Update 10-5-2020: Your employees should never learn about positive test from anyone but you

Ninety percent of the [White House] complex most certainly learned about it in the news, as has been the case ever since. There are reports that COVID is spreading like wildfire through the White House. There are hundreds and hundreds of people who work on-complex, some who have families with high-risk family members. Since this whole thing started, not one email has gone out to tell employees what to do or what's going on.

If your employees are learning about a positive COVID-19 diagnosis from anyone other than from an official communication from you as their employer, you have failed in your duty as their employer. 

They should not learn from other employees. They should not learn from social media. They should not learn from the professional media. Period. The should only learn from you.

What should this communication look like? Let me suggest the following.

Dear Employees:

It saddens us to inform you that one of your co-workers has tested positive for COVID-19. The law prevents us from telling you the identity of that co-worker, but we want to assure you that we will continue to support this employee as your co-worker heals from this virus, and we will welcome them back to join you at work once it is safe to do so.  
We are doing everything within our ability and resources to keep you as safe and healthy as possible at work. Still, with many cases of COVID-19 transmitted before anyone knows they have been exposed, and with you only being at work for a fraction of you day, we cannot 100 percent guarantee the virus won't enter our workplace.

We continue to require that you self-assess daily for your own potential COVID-19 symptoms (fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea). If you have any of these symptoms, please let us know, and do not return to work until you are fever-free for at least 24 hours, your other symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours, and at least 10 days have passed since your first symptoms.

Anyone who has been in "close contact" with our ill employee has been separately and privately notified, and will be required to quarantine for at least 14 days from their last close contact.

We are also continuing to take the following steps to help ensure, as best as possible, your health and safety here at work:
  • Employees are required to wear masks or other facial coverings at all times while at work, unless you granted a specific exception (such as for safety, a medical reason, or because you are working alone in a closed office).
  • Employees are required to maintain six feet of physical distance from others at all times.
  • Employees must diligently wash their hands and otherwise use hand sanitizer (which we are providing in intervals around the workplace).
  • Employees must self-assess their own health before reporting to work, and no employee is permitted to come to work if they have any of the known symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Lunch room and other common areas are closed until further notice.
  • Each employee is responsible for cleaning their own work station at the end of each shift.
  • We are deep cleaning the entire workplace on a weekly basis.
Additionally, because of the unfortunate positive test, we had the facility deep cleaned and sanitized prior to anyone being allowed to reenter after we learned of the positive test.

Our commitment to your health and safety is our top priority. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact ______________. Our door is always open.

* Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay