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As employers and residents, we turn to the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as sources for news, information, guidance and mandates to ensure the safety of our families, friends and the community.
For the most up-to-date information and guidelines, please visit Pa. Department of Health and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus
Vaccination Information Employer Toolkit Safety at Work
Vaccination Information for Employers
Frequently Asked Questions for Employers about Vaccines (issued Jan. 28, 2021)
WellSpan is following the phased roll-out plan for COVID-19 vaccine determined by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. We encourage all individuals to register for a MyWellSpan account to make the appointment scheduling process easier during this time of high demand for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Log in to MyWellspan Create your MyWellSpan Account
Frequently Asked Questions for Employers (issued Dec. 7, 2020)
Emotional and Mental Wellbeing Guides
Posters and Handouts
WellSpan Employee Assistance Program
Safety of Employees at Work
It is important to continue implementing mitigation strategies until, and probably after, there is a safe, proven FDA-approved vaccine.With new safety precautions and fear of the unknown, instilling confidence that it is safe to be on the job can be helpful. One way you might do this is through communications and actions; by informing staff of the safety measures that are being taken.
Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in contact with a person with positive COVID-19.
As the CDC and DOH have suggested:
- Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19, should self-quarantine and follow return to work algorithms provided on the PA DOH website.
- Those employees who are considered close contacts and exposed to a positive COVID-19 employee will need to self-quarantine for 14 days.
- The COVID-19 positive employee will not be able to return until:
- One day has passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms).
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
The CDC and PA DOH do not recommend repeat testing for COVID-19 positive employees prior to returning to work. Additionally, asymptomatic employees who have been on self-quarantine for 14 days would not be required to obtain COVID-19 testing prior to returning to work.
Currently, WellSpan Health offers symptom-based and asymptomatic exposed COVID-19 testing. Click here for more information.
Returning to Work for Non-Healthcare Workers after COVID-19 Exposure
Employers can refrain from requiring returning employees to obtain work excuses from their medical providers. These are not a requirement, nor recommended, by the Department of Labor or Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
It’s important to remember that one COVID-19 positive staff member could lead to multiple other exposed employees. The same precautions should be taken with all. Furthermore, facilities where these employees work should undergo thorough sanitization (guidance: CDC and PA DOH).
There is no doubt that a COVID-19 positive staff member can cause significant service disruption in an organization. We are hearing reports of employees who are refraining from self-reporting due to fear of losing their jobs. As leaders, it is important for staff to feel supported to do the right thing. If they do not, they threaten not only the livelihood of the organization, but also those around them.
Beyond staying home when feeling sick, one of the best pre-emptive measures is to reinforce social distancing with your teams. You might need to redesign workspaces to avoid crowding, stagger shifts, wear masks and sanitize all workspaces and common areas often.
Infectious diseases are spread through contact. Remove the contact, you could mitigate the chance of contracting the disease. Remember the hygiene rules you were taught when you were a kid—wash your hands, practice respiratory etiquette (cover your cough or sneeze) and protect yourself in many instances.
In addition, respect social distancing guidelines, whenever possible. In situations where social distancing is not possible, protect yourself and others by wearing a cloth face mask. For non-clinical use, fabric masks are generally adequate. WellSpan has posted fabric mask pattern and instructions on Wellspan.org, Fabric Mask Pattern.
In our healthcare settings, gloves are worn routinely including when treating potential and positive COVID-19 patients. Likewise, when touching surfaces that are public and the sanitization practices are unknown, such as gas pumps, ATM machines and shopping carts, it might be wise to wear gloves. If you don’t have access to gloves, sanitize your hands immediately after touching these surfaces.
Consider what your sanitization protocol will be.
- How often will you clean?
- Who will provide the service?
- How will they be protected?
- What products will be used?
It is recommended that you use sanitizers that include at least 60 percent alcohol. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for time to be left on the surface for maximum benefit.
You will want to establish guidelines for onsite meeting participation to ensure social distancing can be maintained. The size of your conference rooms may dictate the appropriate group maximums. Post signage in high traffic areas that reinforces these messages. WellSpan has information available in English and Spanish (see Poster link above).
Submit requests to email@example.com for additional posters for your business.
It should help to make your expectations known to your employees and any ways you plan to enforce the expectations. If you want your employees to:
- Wear a mask and gloves.
- Cover coughs.
- Wash hands often.
- Maintain social distancing.
- Sanitize workspaces.
- Stay at home when sick.
Facilities may initiate pre-shift temperature screening as part of the return to work process without quarantine.
Staff screening is a preemptive way of identifying potential COVID-19 positive cases. This can be as simple as reviewing a checklist of symptoms—fever, cough, shortness of breath—and administering a temperature check prior to the start of each shift. You can also require that employees stay home if they are sick. Guidance for implementing safety practices can be found here.
WellSpan Occupational Health can provide employers with training on pre-shift temperature screening and educational resources for the workforce.
OnSite Testing Availability
One prevalent question being asked is the availability of onsite testing for employees. The onsite testing we recommend is temperature screening. A digital forehead thermometer is safe and easy to administer at the beginning of each shift. We continue to explore how we can further support the needs of the employer community with additional testing options.
Continue to Seek & Receive Medical Care
We want to stress how important it is to direct someone suspected of having COVID-19 to call their primary care provider or the WellSpan Coronavirus Information Hotline at 855-851-3641. That will ensure your employee gets to the right care at the right place at the right time. It could save their life.
We’ve also heard from patients experiencing serious medical issues aside from COVID-19, including behavioral health concerns, that they are choosing not to come to the hospital for care over fear of contracting COVID-19 within the building.
Because of rigorous safety measures, our hospitals remain safe places to seek care for emergency conditions. Do not delay care for emergency conditions. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department immediately if you have a life-threatening condition.