What If One of My Employees Tests Positive for COVID-19?

Before You Communicate to the Overall Organization:

When an employee tests positive for coronavirus, we must quickly assess risk exposure to the rest of the staff and determine the best next steps.

1. Advise the employee to contact their doctor, self-quarantine, and contact you when symptoms have resolved, and their physician agrees they can return to work. Check-in every now and then to see how they’re doing and answer questions.

2. Ask the employee to identify all coworkers, vendors, customers they’ve had close contact with at least 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms. The CDC defines “close contact” as “a person that has been within six feet of the infected employee for a prolonged period of time” defined as 10-30 minutes. If everyone in your company has been working from home during the last two weeks, this may be unlikely, but you should still ask if the infected person had contact with any coworkers.

3. Alert those who have been in close contact with the employee as soon as possible, repeat the advice given on the CDC site for their situation and, of course, direct them to their own doctors. The law is clear about confidentiality; you should tell everyone who was possibly exposed at work to the positive employee without revealing that employee’s identity. You can expect people in the close contact group to be nervous and ask a lot of questions, especially if it’s the first time they are receiving such news. Since several days have passed between their exposure to the COVID-positive colleague, they may ask you if their family is at risk. Don’t speculate. Instead, refer them to their own physician and the CDC website. What you can do is reassure them that the company, and you, will be supportive.

4. Strategize an OSHA approved cleaning process, and any other precautions you should put in place to ensure the safety of your workforce, (masks, sanitizers, increased cleaning, spacing of people/shifts, temperature assessments, consideration of close quarters in bathrooms & eating areas, increased remote work availability, etc.).

5. As soon as possible, inform your workforce that an employee has recently been diagnosed with COVID-19. Sample memo here.


CDC Guidelines Based on Exposure

Share with employees, vendors, customers who have been exposed; CDC Guidelines based on exposure, for asymptomatic persons exposed to persons with known or
suspected COVID-19 or possible COVID-19


OSHA Guidance

OSHA guidance on preparing your workplace

Cleaning & Disinfecting Facilities
Workplace Flyers

PRINTABLE FLYERS for your workplace

Sample Letter for Close Contacts with COVID positive Employees

AIM HR Solutions sample letter for those in close contact with your COVID positive employee here