When an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, the employer is recommended (and in some states legally required) to take action. In addition to disinfecting the area where the diagnosed employee spent time, it’s recommended the employer take steps to notify other employees, visitors, and contractors about possible exposure.
But how can employers determine who has been in contact with the COVID-positive employee? This is where a comprehensive visitor management system can be put to work, helping employers with contact tracing and notifying exposed employees.
The CDC Recommendations
When an employee reports that he or she has tested positive for COVID-19, in addition to cleaning and disinfecting, employers should determine which employees may have been exposed to the virus. They then must take additional action. Here’s what the CDC recommends:
Employers should inform fellow employees of possible exposure to COVID-19 but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Exclude the COVID-positive employee from work and encourage them to isolate at home if they do not need to be hospitalized. Employers should provide education to employees on what to do if they are sick.
Employers may need to work with local health department officials to determine which employees may have had close contact with the employee with COVID-19 and who may need to take additional precautions, including exclusion from work and remaining at home.
Most workplaces should follow the Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure and instruct potentially exposed employees to stay home for 14 days, telework if possible, and self-monitor for symptoms.
State Requirements by Law
Some states are creating new legislation to protect employees and, in some cases, require employers to notify employees of possible COVID-19 exposure. With the strength of the law behind them, some CDC recommendations turn to requirements.
California: A new California Labor Code (Section 6409.6, effective January 2021) requires employers to notify employees, the employees’ exclusive representation (a union), and contractors of possible exposure within one business day of receiving notice of a positive COVID-19 infection.
Virginia: An emergency temporary standard (§16VAC25-220-10) went into effect in July, preventing employees infected or suspected to be infected of COVID-19 from reporting to work in person. When a permanent or temporary employee tests positive for COVID-19, the employer must (to the extent permitted by law, including HIPAA) inform any employees who may have been exposed within 24 hours of becoming aware of the positive test. They must also notify other employers of employees who were present on site who may have been exposed.
Michigan: House Bill 6032 protects employees who contract COVID-19, display symptoms, or come in close contact with someone who contracted COVID-19. Those who test positive or display symptoms are not supposed to report to work, and those who have come in “close contact” with the infected person cannot report to work until 14 days after exposure. If an employer requires an employee to come to work in violation of these timelines, they’re open to being sued and fined.
How Visitor Management Solutions Can Help Employers
Between CDC recommendations and legal requirements, it’s vital for employers to be able to track who is on premises including permanent and temporary employees, visitors, and contractors. Additionally, employers need to be able to quickly pull detailed reports of who was on premise on a particular day, where they were within the facility, and who they could have come into contact with. This reporting enables them to communicate potential COVID-19 exposure.
Comprehensive visitor management systems, such as WhosOnLocation and PassagePoint, are powerful tools to help employers with these challenges.
WhosOnLocation: This powerful, enterprise-class visitor management application makes it easy to manage visitors but is also a powerful tool in employee management. It pairs with access control systems, allowing employers to use credentials or an app to sign employees, visitors or contractors in and out. This can help an employer keep track of who might potentially be exposed if an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
To notify visitors or contractors about a pandemic visitor policy ahead of their visit, WhosOnLocation offers an incredibly useful visitor pre-registration feature. Employees can pre-register guests or contractors with a calendar invite that includes visitor protocol details and requirements. This feature also enables the employer to restrict and track visitors and contractors on site.
PassagePoint: This comprehensive suite of security solutions is designed to offer maximum control over the visitor management process. PassagePoint integrates with all major access control systems to help employers track people throughout a facility and restrict access to certain areas. Barcode or QR code technology can be enabled for door access, elevator access, and turnstiles and a complete audit trail can be created for every visitor to a facility.
PassagePoint also provides a contactless process to administer a daily health screening questionnaire to employees or visitors before they ever leave home. Employees or visitors answer mandatory questions related to organizational compliance requirements, such as health-related screening questions. If the person passes the pre-entry verification, they’ll be able to access the premises. If the results do not meet compliance requirements, the employee or visitor will be denied access to the facility. If needed, compliance data is then available in audit reports for liability & risk management.
IDenticard is a trusted global leader in visitor management, access control, and security solutions with 60+ years of experience. Contact us for a consultation. We can help navigate new recommendations and regulations to find the perfect visitor and employee management system to support COVID-19 protocols.