Now that lockdown restrictions are easing worldwide, many governments have decided it’s time to get back to business. The economy is reopening, but that doesn’t mean that COVID-19 has disappeared. In fact, in many places around the world, the virus is still running rampant.
In most locations, safety measures have been put into place to avoid further unchecked spread of the disease and the grave implications it could have. But there will be some inevitable outbreaks of the virus once people resume their normal day-to-day lives. So, how do you deal with an outbreak in your neck of the woods if it happens? Here’s how to manage and track a coronavirus outbreak in your office.
How to keep your employees safe from coronavirus
The first step in managing an outbreak at work is to prioritize avoiding any cases at all. The same safety measures that were in effect during the lockdown need to be taken into consideration while restrictions lift and people begin frequenting businesses and offices again.
Social distancing measures are a great way to keep both your employees and yourself safe from a potential outbreak and spread. This means keeping a distance between cubicles, desks, or workstations and avoiding any prolonged contact during meetings. If it’s not possible to spread out due to a lack of space, wearing masks and advising all employees to stay home if they feel ill will also help curb any potential spread of the virus within your office.
You should also make hand sanitizer readily available for your employees, and perform more frequent cleaning of common areas like lunchrooms and bathrooms.
COVID-19 business and employer guidance
According to the CDC, there are guidelines that employers and businesses can follow during the reopening of the American economy. The White House released a set of guidelines that should be utilized by all businesses when reopening, stating that businesses are to reopen in a matter of phases.
For Phase 1, businesses will be allowed to reopen slowly, and will have to take many factors into account. The guidelines are as follows:
- Companies are encouraged to continue remote/virtual work if it doesn’t affect the direct line of business.
- Perform slow reintegration of employees over the span of a few weeks to allow for a slow build-up of business hours and employees on the premises at any given time.
- Keep common areas either heavily sanitized or closed entirely to avoid giving the virus the opportunity to spread throughout the office.
- Reduce the amount of travel done by employees wherever possible.
- Provide employees who are more susceptible to serious outcomes of COVID-19 with special accommodations.
These guidelines give employers the tools they need to reopen their businesses while keeping employees safe from an outbreak. Phase 2 involves the same guidelines as mentioned above, with the exception of limiting travel.
If your area does happen to make it to Phase 3, you are able to resume all normal activities while adhering to state protocols, if required. These protocols could require wearing a mask indoors at all times or limiting the number of people in the office at any given time.
Testing employees for coronavirus
Testing employees for COVID-19 can be tough. Employees should be required to stay home when they feel ill, and if they come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, they should get tested and monitor symptoms.
Infectolab has a serology test available to help employers test their employees in a quick and accurate manner to allow for rapid results and recovery. The test works by seeking out a specific antibody that will offer up more accurate results than other types of tests. With the results being returned within 48 hours, it can help employers keep a closer track on any potential infections within their business, which can lead to a better system of management and tracking if an outbreak does occur.
How to manage and track coronavirus outbreaks
In the case that a COVID-19 case has been found in your business, there are guidelines in place and steps to take to ensure that it stays contained. If one of your employees contracts the virus, it is important to assure them that their job is not at risk while they self-isolate for the mandatory 14-day period. This will ensure employees feel safe disclosing any COVID-19 symptoms, lessening the risk of them coming to work while ill and spreading the virus to others.
If an employee is found to be diagnosed with COVID-19, the next step is to pinpoint other employees in the workplace who may have come into close contact with the person infected. This will enable you to track and monitor any further cases within your business.
Other guidelines that will need to be adhered to following a positive case within an office include:
- Social distancing or a temporary return to working from home
- The sanitization of surfaces and areas more frequently touched
- Monitoring other employees for symptoms
It can be hard to contain a viral spread once it occurs, but by following these guidelines, you will have a better chance at keeping your business COVID-free once you reopen.
Featured image by Austin Distel on Unsplash