Guidance for handling COVID-19 cases in the workplace

By DA NANG Today / DA NANG Today
November 26, 2021, 10:10 [GMT+7]

The Da Nang Department of Health has issued a temporary guidance for handling COVID-19 cases in the workplace.

Employers can play an important role in helping Da Nang prevent the spread of COVID-19 by quickly addressing COVID-19 cases in their workplace.

A designated room or designated area is recommended for isolating any persons who develop COVID-19 symptoms in the workplace in line with the guidance from the Ministry of Health and local health bodies. Medical and COVID-19 teams must be set up to handle COVID-19 cases and their close contacts in the workplace.

Surveillance cameras must be installed in areas where workers can gather in the workplace, including changing rooms, canteens, stairs, aisles, and entry points and entrance gates in order to support contact tracing efforts after a case is identified.

Employers should monitor the health of their employees on a daily basis through checking their body temperature, requiring them to fill out health declaration form online, conducting rapid antigen tests for suspected cases and close contacts.

Effective management of employees in their places of residence and enhanced compliance monitoring of COVID-19 guidelines are recommended for employers to prevent the spread of the virus in the workplace.

What steps should employers take when they learn a staff member has COVID-19?

Step 1: Report any COVID-19 cases and their contacts at your facility to local authorities and healthcare facilities to seek medical advice and requirements.

Medical and COVID-19 teams will take responsibility for putting COVID-19 cases under quarantine in a designated room or designated area.

The production area where a COVID-19 case works at should be temporarily suspended operations, and all employees in these areas will be required to not leave the workplace, follow the 5K recommendations of the Ministry of Health while waiting for results of epidemiological investigation of cases.

Step 2: Staff of the district-level medical center will conduct COVID-19 testing for close contacts in your facility and adopt all necessary measures to contain the spread of the virus.

Step 3: The focus will be on identifying and tracing all close contacts in your facility in line with the guidance from local health bodies, especially persons who have been in close contact with infected patients within 4 -5 days before cases are detected.

Step 4: Healthcare workers will perform a 'pooled test' with samples of 2-3 close contacts in order to save time and resources. If pooled sample is positive all individual samples in that “pool” group are tested. If the pooled sample is negative assume all samples within the pool are negative. Secondary close contacts will undergo RT-PCR tests if needed.

Employers must pay for COVID-19 testing for their remaining employees if you require it.

Step 5: If your facility requires primary close contacts to attend work while self-isolating, you must ensure a safe distance between them and others, and limit their contacts with others in the workplace in order to protect the safety of your employees.   

If more than 80% of the employees in your facility have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, all primary close contacts can attend work but will be required to get tested for the virus on the 4th, 7th days from the date of their last exposure and then every 7 days until no cases are reported in your facility. However, the heed must be paid on encouraging close contacts to take precautionary measures to protect their family members who are vunerable and high-risk groups, including people aged over 65 years, persons over 50 with certain underlying medical conditions, along with people who are overweight and obese. They are must limit close contact with people outside their household until they complete their self-monitoring period.

If more than 80% of the employees in your facility have been fully vaccinated but primary close contacts have received just one dose, they must isolate at home or in a designated site for 14 days and must get tested for COVID-19 on days 7 and 14 of quarantine.

If primary close contacts have been fully vaccinated, they do not need to quarantine and can attend work. Secondary close contacts must self-isolate at home while waiting for COVID-19 test result of their contacts. If tests on theirr close contacts come back negative for the virus, they will be released from quarantine. However, they must undergo home quarantine if their contacts test positive for COVID-19. They will be required to self-isolate at home and get tested for the virus as the same as the primary close contacts.

All other contacts of confirmed cases or those who have been in COVID-19 exposure sites must self-monitor their health for 14 days from the date of their last exposure. If they develop COVID-19 symptoms within their isolation, they must consult with their local healthcare facility for testing recommendations. They must get tested for COVID-19 on days 1, 4, and 7 from the date of their last exposure. Their employers must pay for their COVID-19 testing.

Step 6: The focus must be on identifying all primary and secondary close contacts of COVID-19 cases detected in your facility and report these contacts to authorities where they are living in order to effectively manage them to prevent the spread of the virus.

Step 7: Cleaning and disinfecting all areas where COVID-19 cases have been in during their infectious period.

Reporting by LE HUNG – translating by H.L