Regardless of where you stand in the debate over the appropriate time to “open up” the country and see businesses return to relatively normal operations, it’s clear that there will still be people infected with COVID-19. If you offer occupational medicine services, it’s all but inevitable that some of them will be employed by your clients—who will be looking to you for guidance and care. A new article published online by BusinessTech suggests screening all employees for common symptoms of COVID-19—cough, sore throat, fever/chills, shortness of breath—at the beginning and end of the workday. Patients who acknowledge symptoms should be required to wear a mask and be referred for testing. If they test positive for the virus, they’re to be sent home for self-isolation for 14 days (or 14 days after clinical stability is achieved in cases of severe disease). Co-workers who may have been exposed to the sick employee should be directed to self-isolate for 7 days, assuming they don’t develop symptoms. All workers diagnosed with COVID-19 should undergo an exam and be tested again before they’re allowed to return to work, according to the article. Occ med providers should bear in mind that federal, state, or local health agencies may issue their own guidelines or regulations, and that client employers will be looking for your guidance in helping them comply.
Some Businesses Are Opening Up—and Need Guidance on Patients with COVID-19 Symptoms