State of Delaware tightens staff screening rules for high risk businesses and recommends other employers do the same daily

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Gov. John Carney and Delaware Division of Public Health Director Karyl T. Rattay, are requiring that high-risk businesses screen employees daily for signs of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The state also strongly recommends that  other businesses and organization  screen employees each day before work by following these steps:

  • All employees who are able to work from home should be working from home at this time.
  • For those employees who must report to work: each employee must be asked about and report body temperature at or above 99.5 degrees F. If the facility has the capability to perform active temperature monitoring, they should do so. If an employee reports or is noted to have body temperature at or above 99.5 degrees F that employee should be sent home.

Thermometer tips

  • It is best to use touchless thermometers (forehead/temporal artery thermometers) if possible, but if you must use oral or other types of thermometers, make sure to clean the thermometers thoroughly between each employee, as to not spread infection.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions to disinfect the thermometer.
  • If no directions are available, rinse the tip of the thermometer in cold water, clean it with alcohol or alcohol swabs, and then rinse it again.
  • If you do not have thermometers on site, have your employees take their temperatures at home. They should stay home if they have an elevated temperature at or above 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit and follow the same protocol.
  • Personnel screening employees for fever should consider wearing gloves and face masks per CDC recommendations.

Employers must screen each incoming employee with a basic questionnaire, which should include at least the below,  can be made more comprehensive and/or employer-specific in consultation with medical professionals:

  • Do you have symptoms of respiratory infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath, severe sore throat, or muscle aches)?
  • If YES, but symptoms have a known cause (asthma, COPD, chronic sinusitis, etc.), employer or medical personnel should weigh risks for COVID-19 exposure and consider sending employee home.
  • If YES, or employee otherwise symptomatic and considered at risk for COVID-19 exposure, the employee should isolate at home.

The employee should remain at home for a total of seven days after symptoms have resolved defined as the resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and resolution of body aches and sore throat, before being permitted to return back to work.

Three days after symptoms resolve, patients are no longer required to self- isolate at home; however, they must continue to practice strict social distancing, avoid sustained close contact with others and maintain good hand hygiene, for the remaining four days (for a total of seven days) before returning to work and their normal daily routine.

Persons may return to work after this 7-day period however should continue to recognize the risk of infectiousness and self-monitor for symptoms.

Employees should consult medical professionals if desired or needed and may adhere to screening decisions made by on-site medical personnel as appropriate.

If at any time a doctor confirms the cause of the employee’s fever or other symptoms is not COVID-19 and approves them to return to work, then the employees can return.

 If NO, proceed to next step

  • Have you been in close contact (e.g., within 6 feet for more than a few minutes) with a person with confirmed COVID-19 infection?
  • If NO, employee may proceed to work.
  • If YES, employee will be required to stay at home for 14 days from the time they were exposed to confirmed COVID-19.

Other recommendations: Remember to continue to follow preventative measures no matter how many employees are in the office — physical distancing, stay home when sick, use cough and sneeze etiquette, and practice hand hygiene as often as possible. Clean all high-touch surfaces regularly. For more information, visit: coronavirus.delaware.gov/.

For answers to your COVID-19 questions, call 1-866-408-1899. Those with a hearing impairment can dial 7- 1-1. Public inquiries and questions can be sent by email to DPHCall@delaware.gov.

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