Business guidance resources listed below from Linn County Public Health, the Iowa Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and their community partners.
Multi-Lingual Public Health Information
Information from the Iowa Department of Public Health regarding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) general information, isolation guidance for Iowans, and self-isolation.
- Encourage flexible work-from-home and leave policies
- Stagger shifts and breaks to reduce staff interactions
- Review procedures to identify physical separation opportunities of staff
Clean, Cover and Contain Germs
- Provide or allow employees to wear their own homemade cloth facemasks
- Provide hand sanitizer or handwashing opportunities as frequently as possible
- Communicate with all staff the importance of staying home, no matter how mild the illness
Screen Employees Prior to Entry
Screen employees by taking their temperature and assessing for cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing or any other respiratory symptom at the beginning and end of each shift. Employees demonstrating symptoms of illness should remain home, until they are fever free without the use of medication for 3 days, symptoms have improved, AND it has been 10 days from symptom on-set. Exclusion criteria must be followed with all symptomatic employees regardless of whether COVID-19 testing is complete (even if the employee tests negative for COVID-19 infection).
Consider excluding high-risk employees when outbreaks are ongoing:
- People aged 65 years and older
- People with severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or greater)
- People with diabetes
- People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
- People with liver disease
- Pregnant women
- People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled
- People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- People who have serious heart conditions
- People who are immunocompromised
Managing an Outbreak
Coordinate with your occupational health provider to define a pathway to test symptomatic employees. State Hygienic Laboratory testing for symptomatic employees during outbreaks are approved by public health. The occupational health provider or employees’ health providers will be responsible for collecting the nasopharyngeal swab for testing and following-up for medical care as needed.
Positive COVID-19 Tests
Public health and occupational health will work jointly to investigate cases and identify the following contacts:
- Household contacts
- Ride-share partners
- Co-workers with prolonged contact
Confirmed COVID-19 employees and contacts (household contacts, ride-share partners, co-workers with prolonged contact will be directed to stay at home and isolate themselves from other people and animals in the home for 14 days after the last known exposure to a person with COVID-19.
Business decisions to close should be based upon workforce availability and the ability to follow the recommended prevention and response measures. Linn County Public Health does not close a business due to infectious disease, we only provide guidance.
Any Linn County business that is seeing an increase in cases of respiratory illness or COVID-19 cases should contact Linn County Public Health.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Can an occupational health clinic perform testing now? Yes, but you are responsible for your PPE (personal protective equipment) and for obtaining the test kits.
- Can occupational health clinics send the samples into the State Hygienic Lab (SHL) for analysis? Yes. However, you must use the IDPH guidelines for testing.
- All hospitalized patients (of any age) with fever and respiratory illness.
- Older adults (>60 years of age) with fever and respiratory symptoms (cough, difficulty breathing) and chronic medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, immunosuppressive medications, chronic lung disease, or chronic kidney disease).
- Persons of any age with fever or respiratory illness who live in congregate setting (i.e., long term care facilities, dormitories, residential facilities, correctional facilities, treatment facilities).
- Healthcare workers, essential services personnel, first responders and critical infrastructure workers with fever or respiratory illness (ex. healthcare workers, fire and EMS, law enforcement, residential facility staff.
- If our staff do not qualify for testing with the SHL, can we do anything else? Yes, you can send test samples to a reference lab for testing. We do not recommend mass testing of employees for the following reasons:
- Although there are more test kits available, if wide spread testing starts, those will quickly become depleted.
- This will put a strain on the PPE supply.
- Due to community spread, individuals that are negative today, may be positive in the next few days.
- It is not recommended to test employees prior to return to work.
- What do I do if our company does not have an occupational health clinic? Contact an occupational health clinic to set-up an account. Employees may also their private healthcare provider.
Always call the healthcare provider before sending a person for testing.