A Manager's Guide to Situations Involving Staff Members and Testing for COVID 19 – Dr Gary Jackson
31 March 2020 – these guidelines are effective as of this date and are subject to change as the situation develops.
What to do if your staff member is being tested for COVID 19
- When you first speak to the employee about the situation, it is important that you establish with the employee why they are being tested.
- Set an expectation that they are to let you know the results of the test when they receive it. Ask them to email the results through to you and Occupational Health. If they are ill, ask them to have this done on their behalf by the testing body or a friend or relative.
- Make sure you agree a communication plan with the staff member to ensure that you stay in touch during their absence.
- If a staff member has a contact history with a person with COVID 19 then the staff member will be required to remain in isolation for 14 days starting either from the date of the last contact they had with the person who is a confirmed or probable case of COVID 19.
- Even if the staff member’s test is negative, the 14 days’ isolation period still applies from the date mentioned above.
- If the person tests positive, they are not able to return to work for at least 10 days after they developed symptoms and until they have been symptom free for 48 hours and this period of absence will be taken as sick leave. Final decision on release from isolation is to be taken by the Public Health Unit for non-hospitalised COVID 19 cases.
If someone in the staff member’s household is being tested for COVID 19
- If a staff member informs you that someone in their household is being tested for COVID 19, according to current guidelines:
- If the person in their household who is being tested is asymptomatic, then the staff member is able to attend work;
- If the person in their household who is being tested is showing symptoms of COVID 19, then the staff member is not able to attend work.
- If the person in the household test results in them being deemed to NOT be a COVID 19 case (nor a probable case based on clinical assessment), then the staff member can return to work even if the person in their household is still showing symptoms, as long as the staff member themselves has no symptoms.
- If the person in the household tests results in them being deemed to be a confirmed or probable COVID 19 case (the latter dependent on a clinical assessment), then the staff member needs to self-isolate for 14 days since the date of the last contact they had with the person who has tested positive.
- If the staff member remains in the same household as the person who has tested positive for COVID 19, then their period of isolation begins 48 hours after the person who has tested positive stops showing symptoms.
What if your staff member is unsure whether they should be tested for COVID 19?
- A staff member may ask you whether, taking into account their circumstances, they should themselves be tested for COVID 19. This is dependent on a number of factors, including their travel history, the travel history of those in their household, any Covid 19 contact history and the symptoms which they or their household are experiencing. If the staff member is concerned, they should be directed to contact Healthline (0800 358 5453), their GP or attend a testing centre who will be able to advise on any requirement for testing and/or self-isolation.