Q: What is a business required to do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?

A: Employers are required to inform their staff of possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace while maintaining confidentiality under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also issued several recommendations for both employers and their staff.

If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, the CDC says businesses should seek to identify where and how workers might have been exposed in the workplace and take action.

Facilities, in most cases, do not need to be shut down because an employee has tested positive for the coronavirus, the federal agency said.

If it has been fewer than seven days since the sick employee was in the facility, the CDC recommends closing off any areas used for prolonged periods of time by the person and opening outside doors and windows to increase air circulation while waiting 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting.

If it has been seven days or more since the sick employee was in the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary beyond routine cleaning and disinfecting.

Businesses should also try to determine which employees may have been exposed to the virus by following the CDC’s Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure and instruct potentially exposed employees to stay home for 14 days, telework if possible and self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.

Critical infrastructure workplaces should follow the Implementing Safety Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Had Exposure to a Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 guidelines, which were also issued by the federal agency.

Kali Venable is an investigative and environmental reporter for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6558 or at

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Investigative & Environmental Reporter

"I am a Houston native and 5th generation Texan, with a degree in journalism and minor in creative writing from the University of Texas at Austin. I care deeply about public interests and the community I serve.”

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