Guidance for Employees
When an Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19
Suffolk County Health Department will investigate positive cases. We understand that employers may want to reach out to their employees before our investigation is complete.
If an employee reports a positive test to their employer, you should consider the following:
Was this person on-site when symptomatic or 48 hours before symptoms started?
If the answer is yes, the individual with a positive test result should identify who they were in close contact with while symptomatic. New York State defines a close contact as being within 6 feet of a person displaying symptoms of COVID-2019 or someone who has tested positive of COVID-2019. The contact should be ten minutes or more.
The employer should notify the individuals who were identified by the employee who tested positive.
The employer should also disinfect the work space:
CDC Guidance on disinfecting:
Hard (Non-porous) Surfaces
- If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
- A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available on the EPA website. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for concentration, application method and contact time, etc.
- Additionally, diluted household bleach solutions (at least 1000ppm sodium hypochlorite) can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application, ensuring a contact time of at least one minute, and allowing proper ventilation during and after application. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
- Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted. Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
- 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water or
- 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
Soft (Porous) Surfaces
- For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:
- If the items can be laundered, launder items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and then dry items completely.
- Otherwise, use products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 and that are suitable for porous surfaces
We hope this information is helpful. We appreciate your assistance with the response to this unprecedented event.
Determining Whether a Business Enterprise Is Subject To a Workforce Reduction under Recent Executive Orders
Executive Order 202.8 is a directive issued by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo that requires businesses in New York State to reduce the number of employees working at individual locations in New York State to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
Employers are required to reduce the number of employees working at each location by 100 percent effective March 22, 2020 at 8 p.m. The employment reduction requirements apply to all for-profit and not-for-profit employers in New York State, unless such business is deemed an essential business or entity providing essential services. These entities are considered “Essential Business.”
An Essential Business is any business providing products or services that are required to maintain the health, welfare and safety of the citizens of New York State.
Guidance as to whether a business is an “Essential Business” can be found on the website of Empire State Development at: https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026
If your business is determined to be an Essential Business, only those employees that are needed to provide the products and services that are essential to provide such products or services are permitted to work at the business location. In addition, Essential Businesses are still required to utilize telecommuting or work from home procedures to the maximum extent possible. Those employees who do report to work must adhere to the requirements set forth in the Department of Health guidelines, which can be found at: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home
If your firm is not an Essential Business, your business is required to comply with the employment reduction provisions contained in Executive Order 202.8 which requires the number of employees working at each location be reduced by 100 percent effective March 22, 2020 at 8 p.m.
Providing Face Coverings for Public and Private Employees Interacting with the Public
New York State Executive Order 202.16 provides that any employees who are present in the workplace at all essential businesses are to be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings for their employees.
This requirement became effective Wednesday, April 15 at 8 p.m.
For more information, visit: Interim Guidance on Executive Order 202.16 Requiring Face Coverings for Public and Private Employees Interacting with the Public during the COVID-19 Outbreak April 14, 2020.
Information on Homemade Cloth Face Coverings
Additional New York State Executive Orders can be found at: https://www.governor.ny.gov/executiveorders