COVID-19 FAQs: Employee Safety

This post has been archived and contains information that may be out of date.

What are the requirements for taking the temperature of individuals, especially staff, entering the hospital?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is revising the Focused Infection Control survey tool  to align with recent updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related to screening and triage of those entering health care facilities. Hospitals should have a screening process to assess for signs/symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and for exposure to others with known or suspected COVID-19. CDC recommendations include but are not limited to screening questions with an assessment of illness, self-monitored pre-arrival temperature checks with reported absence of fever and symptoms, and facility-monitored temperature checks upon arrival.

CDC notes that, “although screening for symptoms will not identify asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection, symptom screening remains an important strategy to identify those who could have COVID-19, so appropriate precautions can be implemented.” Hospitals are encouraged to review CDC’s updated infection prevention and control recommendations when developing or revising their screening policies and procedures. (1/21/21)

What personal protective equipment (PPE) should be provided to employees working in skilled-nursing facilities (SNFs)?

Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Disease Standard applies to SNFs and specifies what PPE is appropriate in a variety of circumstances. Cal/OSHA has developed specific guidance for SNFs and has indicated it intends to focus more attention on these workplaces. (4/22)

What are the rules around when a possibly exposed but asymptomatic health care worker can continue to work and when a symptomatic health care worker can return to work?

Health care workers who are asymptomatic but have been exposed to a known or suspected COVID-19 positive patient can continue to work during this period of emergency, subject to infection control precautions, according to the Governor’s Executive Order of March 15. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance based on the exposure risk. With respect to health care workers who have COVID-19 symptoms, whether they have been tested or not, CDC guidance provides two methods for determining when they can return to work. (4/9)

My hospital received a notice of complaint from the Division of Occupational Safety and Health alleging that my hospital is violating the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Disease Standard due to my respirator conservation strategies. What are my options for respirator use and conservation given the continuing shortage? 

On Aug. 6, Cal/OSHA released updated guidance on COVID-19 for Health Care Facilities: Severe Respirator Supply Shortages, which modifies the earlier June 12 guidance in three significant ways:

  • It does not include the extended re-use strategy whereby an employee is provided five or seven N95s that are rotated in use under specified conditions.
  • While it allows hospitals to continue to disinfect N95s, it requires hospitals to store them for “future shortages.”
  • It does not include the option for hospitals to provide facemasks for routine care of COVID-19 patients or persons under investigation. (Read more)  (8/13)

On May 6, the Governor issued an Executive Order creating a rebuttable presumption in the workers’ compensation system for COVID-19 claims. That order expired on July 5. What does that mean for my hospital’s workers compensation program?

The Governor’s Executive Order N-62-20 implemented a presumption in the workers’ compensation system that expired on July 5. On September 17, the Governor signed Senate Bill  (SB) 1159, which creates several different presumptions based on job roles or worksites.

The law, which took effect immediately, adopts a COVID-19 specific presumption in the workers’ compensation system for employees that test positive for COVID-19. It is retroactive to July 6, 2020 and expires on January 1, 2023.  

The Division of Workers Compensation has issued FAQs, and CHA believes will be issuing emergency regulations as well. CHA has developed an on-demand educational video that reviews the law.

The law does four things:

  • Codifies the Governor’s Executive Order that created a presumption in the workers’ compensation system, from March 19 – July 5 for employees who were required to leave their home for work during the stay-at-home order
  • Creates a presumption in the workers’ compensation system for fire, police, and hospital employees
  • Creates a presumption in the workers’ compensation system for employees working in other workplaces that experience an “outbreak”
  • Requires the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation to evaluate the impact of these presumptions on the workers’ compensation system.   (9/22)