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What Businesses Need to Know About COVID-19

As more and more businesses get back to work, we recognize that employers are looking for assistance with how to safely provide goods and services to our community, while preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

The resources below are designed to provide you with the information and tools you need to safely maintain your operations. Please keep in mind that the situation is changing daily, so make sure you are checking for regular updates from your local health district, the Ohio Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

For general information on FMC’s response to COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 updates page. For employee-related COVID-19 questions, please contact our Occupational Health team at 740-689-4404.  

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Preventing the Spread of COVID-19

Person cleaning with rubber gloves on and towelThe Ohio Department of Health has outlined 5 protocols for businesses to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. 

  • Require employees use face coverings and recommend face coverings for customers and clients. For more information on proper use of face coverings, please review the CDC guidelines.
  • Conduct daily health assessments by employers  and employees (self-evaluation) to determine if the employee is fit to work. 
  • Practice good hygiene through hand washing, sanitizing and social distancing. 
    • More information on proper hand washing can be found on the CDC website.
  • Clean workspaces and common areas throughout the day and at the close of business or between shifts.
    • Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces, including: desks, workstations, keyboards, phones, countertops, railings, handles, door knobs, light switches, sinks and toilets. Be sure to use EPA-approved cleaners and follow the directions on the label.  
    • For more information on properly cleaning and disinfecting, visit the CDC’s website.  
  • Limit capacity to meet social distancing guidelines.
    • For more information on social distancing, please review ODH and CDC guidelines. 

Remind employees of the important ways they can prevent the spread of COVID-19:  

  • Stay at home when ill, except for seeking medical care. 
  • Follow the employer’s policies for cleaning and disinfecting, meetings and travel.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the bend of their elbow.
  • Frequently wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Observe social distancing when possible.
  • Inform their employer if they develop a fever, cough or shortness of breath. 
  • When possible, avoid touching public, high touch surfaces such as: handrails, door handles, elevator buttons or lightswitches. Thoroughly clean hands after touching such surfaces, if contact is unavoidable. 
  • When possible, avoid sharing personal items and work materials with other employees. 

You can click here for more information on protecting your business against COVID-19.

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Female checking male businessman's temperature

Screening Employees for COVID-19

Currently, the Ohio Department of Health is recommending that any employee who is able to work from home should be working from home.  

Screening protocols:  

  • Try to maintain social distancing by having the employee take their own temperature before coming to work or upon arrival at work. Confirm with the employee that their temperature is less than 100.4° F and that they are not experiencing coughing or shortness of breath.  
  • Visually inspect employees for symptoms, such as flushed cheeks or fatigue. 
  • If you are conducting onsite screenings, protect the screener behind a physical barrier, such as a glass or plastic window or partition. 
  • It is recommended to use a touchless thermometer (forehead or temporal artery thermometer), and if you are using a different type of thermometer, be sure to disinfect it between each use.  

For more information on the Ohio Department of Health’s guidelines for conducting screenings, click here

If an employee has a fever of 100.4° F or higher, or is experiencing coughing or shortness of breath, the Ohio Department of Health calls for that employee to stay at home.

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Employees Returning to Work

Workers in factory wearing protective equipmentAccording to the Ohio Department of Health, if a healthcare provider confirms that the cause of fever or symptoms is not COVID-19 and approves the employee to return to work, then the employee can return.  

The Ohio Department of Health specifies that employees should stay home until all three of the following criteria are true: 

  • They are fever free for at least 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
  • Respiratory symptoms (coughing and shortness of breath) have improved for at least 72 hours.
  • At least ten days have passed since symptoms began.

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Potential COVID-19 Exposure

Someone is considered exposed to COVID-19 if they are a “close contact” of someone who is infected, which the CDC defines as “being within approximately 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time,” including the 48 hours before the infected individual became symptomatic. The CDC recommends that potentially exposed employees take one of the following actions: 

  • Potentially exposed employees who have symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate and follow CDC guidelines for managing the illness. 
  • Potentially exposed employees who do not have symptoms should self-isolate at home or elsewhere and practice social distancing for 10 days. 

Both ODH and CDC recommend that critical infrastructure workers may continue to work after a potential exposure to COVID-19 as long as they are asymptomatic and additional precautions are taken. For more information on handling potentially exposed workers, click here.  

The Ohio Department of Health advises that in addition to the employer performing the recommended safety precautions mentioned above, after returning to work the employee should:  

  • Self-monitor for a fever of 100.4o F or higher, or any acute respiratory symptoms  
  • Wear a face covering while in the business, unless there is a valid exception 
  • Maintain the recommended social distance of 6 feet from others 
  • Avoid sharing work materials or personal items with others

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Man in suit using laptop

Mental Health Resources

In addition to concerns about physical health, employees may be experiencing anxiety regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ohio Department of Health has made help available 24/7 through the COVID-19 CareLine at 1-800-720-9616. 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness recommends the following tips for feeling anxious about returning to work or about the COVID-19 crisis in general: 

  • Do what you can to protect yourself and others from getting sick. Taking proactive steps may help you feel more in control. 
    • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. 
    • Wear a face covering.
    • When possible, maintain a distance of 6 feet from others. 
    • Avoid contact with others who are sick and stay home if you are experiencing symptoms yourself. 
  • Use the resources available to you to help cope. 
    • If you already see a therapist, try to maintain contact with them and let them know of any concerns you have. 
    • Share your concerns with someone on the COVID-19 CareLine at 1-800-720-9616. 
    • Review the resources offered by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
  • Whether you are at home or at work, try to maintain your daily routine – wake up at the same time, get dressed and try to keep up your normal timeline throughout the day. 
  • Attempt to keep up a healthy sleep schedule. 
  • Recognize that your feelings are normal. It is okay to feel anxious, and you are not alone in these feelings.

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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

  • COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus, and a wide range of symptoms have been reported. Below are the most common symptoms that may indicate a person has COVID-19.

    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of taste or smell

    Seek immediate medical attention, if you have any of these emergency warning signs:

    • Difficulty breathing
    • Constant pain or pressure in your chest
    • New disorientation or inability to arouse
    • Blue tint in lips or face

    To find out more about the symptoms of COVID-19, visit the CDC website.

    • Report employee or customer infections to your local health district. Find your local health district here.
    • Help your local health department with providing the needed information on potentially exposed individuals to assist with contact tracing.
    • If possible, close down the area for deep sanitation.
    • Professionally clean and sanitize the site or location where the infected individual spent time.
    • Work with your local health department for consultation on when it is appropriate to reopen.

    For more information on the Ohio Department of Health’s recommended protocols for handling a COVID-19 infection in the workplace, click here.

    • Remind employees to stay home if they are sick. The Ohio Department of Health specifies that employees should stay home until “they are free of fever or symptoms (without the use of medication) for at least 72 hours (three full days) AND symptoms have improved for at least 72 hours AND at least ten days have passed since symptoms first began.”
    • The Ohio Department of Health recommends that if an employee is showing signs of acute respiratory illness, separate them from other employees and send the ill employee home immediately.
    • Recommend that the employee follows up with their healthcare provider for acute illness care.

    Read more about employees safely returning to work.

  • The Ohio Department of Health has established guidelines for COVID-19 testing in Ohio. The CDC has also published general guidance on testing.

  • Individuals who feel they are in need of a COVID-19 test should contact their healthcare provider directly. If the individual does not have a healthcare provider, they can contact one of FMC’s primary care providers, be seen at First Medical Urgent Care or call FMC’s COVID-19 Call Center at 740-687-8818.

Additional Resources

The following resources have been provided to further the utilization of information from reliable and credible sources.

In an effort to assist our local businesses and community partners with health and safety messaging, Fairfield Medical Center invites you to download and share the below documents.