With the relentless news cycle and new guidance coming from all directions right now, we know that many of our Credit Union and small business friends may be struggling under the extra burden of trying to understand and explain complicated new directions to employees.
With that in mind, we thought it would be helpful to share some details that our VP of Human Resources, Katy Zaleski, put together for our team after a conversation with the Director of Occupational Health at Marshfield Clinic (in Marshfield, Wisconsin).
In the Central Wisconsin Area, Marshfield Clinic, Aspirus, and Ascension Hospitals have information available to help you self-check and pre-screen for COVID-19 symptoms as well as dedicated phone numbers for their patients to call for more help. (If your business is served by another hospital system, similar services are likely available.)
Here are several points to get you started managing your team’s questions and your business’s policies around quarantine and the subsequent discontinuation of home isolation (aka return to work):
- If an employee contacts their healthcare provider and is required to self-quarantine, even if they are unable to be tested, they should request the return to work documentation. Some health care professionals may be too overwhelmed to provide these, so work with your employees to help determine alternative forms they can provide that can be submitted for FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act).
- Since there are minimal tests, any individual exhibiting COVID 19 Symptoms should be assumed to have COVID 19. Currently, at Central Wisconsin medical facilities, symptomatic patients need to be referred to testing by a physician as tests are not widely available. This may change if there is an increase in the accessibility of tests.
- The quarantine period is 14 days after the most recent exposure, as symptoms can take 2-14 days to develop after.
- Because little is known about this virus and tests are not widely available, if someone is displaying COVID symptoms, it should be assumed they have it. Unfortunately, at this time, there is very little information about the number of individuals that are contagious and asymptomatic. There is information on the CDC site giving recommendations about how to care for yourself or a family member with COVID 19. For example: preferably, you would have self-isolation to a single room/bathroom in your home. (Please read the full recommendations for complete information.)
- If you are on quarantine self-monitor by checking your temperature daily and watching for symptoms including a fever, cough, or shortness of breath. You can see the CDC quarantine guidelines here.
- The CDC also has recommendations on Discontinuing Home Isolation or Return to Work. To be eligible to return to work, an employee must meet all 3 of the following criteria.
- No Fever without the use of medication for 72 hours and
- No respiratory symptoms (cough or shortness of breath) and
- At least 7 days have passed since the first symptom appeared.
- Remember, in many situations, there will be an overlap of both the quarantine and isolation guidelines.
While we’re happy to offer you a resource to prompt more research as you set your business policies, we’d be remiss if we didn’t add the caveat that this information is current for our teams as of today, 4/13/2020 and may change or may not apply in your area. Our best advice is to use this as a template and consult your employment law attorney for the specifics in your area.
About the Author: Katy Zaleski’s professional career has been a fusion of philanthropy and credit unions. As the VP of Human Resources at Exclamation Services, she’s able to live her passion for helping credit union teams improve their culture and transform their professional development every day. If you’d like to learn more about how she and her team can help you with your priceless human resources, contact her here.