What to Do if There's a COVID Outbreak in the Office
As if work wasn’t already stressful enough, this year, you also have to add in company shutdowns, working from home, masks, and so much more to the list. During this time, it is important to have a plan in place in case Covid-19 comes into your workplace.
If someone is experiencing symptoms that have been linked to Covid-19, they should begin to quarantine and get tested. If an employee tests positive, it is important that anyone that had close contact* with that individual also gets tested, as well as anyone experiencing symptoms. If it is possible to work remotely it is ideal to do so for the next 2 weeks.
If an employee tested positive for COVID-19 and worked while contagious, it is recommended to thoroughly clean this space using EPA-approved disinfectants, a diluted bleach solution, or 70% alcohol solution. According to CDC, the following cleaning and disinfecting should be performed in your facility:
- Close off areas used by the person who is sick. Companies do not necessarily need to close operations, if they can close off affected areas.
- Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area. Wait 24 hours before you clean or disinfect. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
- Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines.
- Vacuum the space if needed
Once the area has been properly disinfected, business can be reopened and workers that did not have close contact* with the infected individual can return to work. If any customers or clients had close contact with the employee, they should be notified, but you do not need to reach out to all.
The employees who tested positive or came in close contact* are able to return to work once they have both been fever free without medication for 24 hours and it has been 10 days since the onset of symptoms. If asymptomatic, 10 days after the positive test.
Stay vigilant about preventing the spread of Covid-19 by following CDC guidelines. SERVPRO can help with Covid cleaning after an outbreak, or in prevention.
*close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of an infected person for a prolonged period (15 minutes or more) starting from 2 days before illness onset. The 15 minutes does not need to be continuous. Face coverings do not eliminate all risk