COVID-19 & Your Business: Frequent Questions

What should I do if one of my employees is diagnosed with COVID-19?

Current CDC and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines state that employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace, but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The co-workers should be advised to self-monitor for symptoms.  If they exhibit symptoms, the CDC currently recommends that they should notify their employer and stay home.   On April 1, 2020, the CDC added guidance on the timing of disinfection after a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case.  If it has been more than 7 days since the employee with confirmed COVID-19 was at the place of business, the CDC currently states that additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary.  However, if it has been less than 7 days since the employee with confirmed COVID-19 was at the place of business, and the business is a facility that does not house people over night, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Close off areas visited by the ill persons. Open outside doors and windows and use ventilating fans to increase air circulation in the area. Wait 24 hours or as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection.
  • Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines used by the ill persons, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.

The CDC recommends a different cleaning protocol if the business is a facility that housed people overnight.  This protocol can be found on the CDC COVID-19 web page at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Employers should also follow the guidance of local public health officials. Other non-legal factors including the overall well-being of other employees, customers, and the public at large may additionally guide the employer’s response.  Other options include allowing employees who are able to work remotely to do so, cancelling or conducting by teleconference

Last updated April 9

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