Creating a safer workplace
As businesses reopen, Prisma Health Business Health Solutions wants to help employers create a safer work environment for their employees.Contact Us
COVID-19 has created many challenges. Prisma Health Business Health Solutions can help employers create a safe environment for their employees and their customers.
Employers can begin by taking these steps:
- Review your sick policies with employees. The most common recommendation in case of illness is to stay at home until no fever is detected (without the aid of fever-reducing medications) for as long as your care provider instructs.
- Use contact precautions by asking employees to avoid shaking hands, sharing food or drinks, etc.
- Limit non-essential international travel, especially to at-risk areas. These areas are changing daily, so visit the CDC website for the latest information.
- Reduce exposure by encouraging your employees to use a Prisma Health Virtual Visit. Or they should call their primary care provider if they develop symptoms.
- Urge employees to stay at home if they are sick.
- Develop protocols for disinfecting workspaces of employees who develop symptoms.
To learn more, visit the CDC website.
Is a mask the best safeguard?
In a recent interview with SC Biz News, Rachel Brown, MD, medical director for Prisma Health Prevention & Wellness/Business Health Solutions, discussed ways employers can cope with COVID-19, including whether masks are a useful safeguard against the virus.View Now
Frequently asked questions
Get advice on reopening your business. To learn more about how Prisma Health’s Business Health Solutions team can help you, please call our toll-free number at 833-890-2109 or contact us here: https://www.ghs.org/healthcareservices/business-health-contact/.
In addition to encouraging employees to wash their hands often and stay home if experiencing respiratory symptoms or fever, Prisma Health recommends three key practices to limit exposure to COVID-19.
- Conduct entryway screenings to check for COVID-19 symptoms and elevated temperatures.
- Maintain social distancing by staying at least six feet apart.
- Wear masks (or some form of face covering) to cover the mouth and nose.
Prisma Health can train a team of your employees to conduct the symptom and temperature screenings so that you know your team is following best practices. By screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms or fever before entering the workplace, designing worksites to allow employees to remain at least six feet apart, and preventing the spread of respiratory droplets by wearing face coverings, organizations can feel confident they are following the current best practices to limit exposure to COVID-19.
Currently, the CDC does not recommend testing employees without COVID-19 symptoms before returning to work. If an employee without symptoms has been tested by their provider or at a community testing site, the test results will only be applicable to the immediate timeframe around the testing date.
At this time, return-to-work testing is not recommended for employees without symptoms. If an employee has symptoms of COVID-19, they should leave work or stay home and seek care.
Employees should take these steps:
- Start with the Prisma Health symptom checker to help determine your risk level and identify next steps.
- Use a free Prisma Health Virtual Visit, call your primary care provider, or call our community outreach hotline at 1-833-2PRISMA.
- Call ahead before visiting any Prisma Health location.
- Do not go to the Emergency Department for COVID-19 testing.
- If you have a medical emergency, call 911.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a global impact. In 80% of patients, COVID-19 causes only mild cold symptoms. Older adults and those with pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease, appear to be more vulnerable to the virus.
There are several steps that employees can take to help stay healthy in general including:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Maintain at least six feet between you and others
- Stay home when sick
- Protect the vulnerable – older adults, those with co-morbid illness or those who are immunocompromised
Masking supports those efforts and should be considered/used in certain environments such as in closed spaces when you are not able to maintain social distancing.
Additional precautions are especially important for those vulnerable populations at higher risk, which include those over age 65, those with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and lung conditions and compromised immune systems. These individuals should continue to stay at home and avoid close contact with others, especially people who are sick.
There are two strategies for clearing an employee to return to work if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
The symptom-based strategy allows employees to return to work if they have been without fever for three days (without the use of fever-reducing medicines), 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms, and symptoms are improving.
The testing-based strategy allows employees to return to work if they have been without fever for three days (without the use of fever-reducing medicine), symptoms are improving, and two subsequent COVID-19 tests done at least 24 hours apart are negative.
Yes, we recommend that the employee self-isolate until the person under investigation receives test results.
If symptoms develop while self-isolating, the employee should seek care through his or her primary care provider or a Prisma Health Virtual Visit.
Also, everyone who has been in contact with the PUI should remain vigilant for symptoms. If the test comes back positive, refer to the next question.
If an employee has a family member (or close live-in contact) with COVID-19 AND the employee DOES have symptoms, we do not recommend testing. At this point, we are assuming the employee has the virus and must self-isolate for 10 days from the start of symptoms, be fever free for 72 hours without using fever-reducing medications (aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen/paracetamol, etc.), and show improvement in symptoms.
Important: The EMPLOYER should notify co-workers.
If an employee has a family member (or close live-in contact) with COVID-19 AND the employee does NOT have symptoms, the employee must self-isolate for 14 days from the date onset of their family member’s (or close live-in contact’s) symptoms.
Any employee who has symptoms at work should go home at once and complete a Prisma Health Virtual Visit or contact his or her primary care provider. If the provider deems the employee to be at high risk for COVID-19, the provider will issue an order for a COVID-19 test.
Prisma Health offers drive-through COVID-19 testing for those with orders from their primary care provider or a Prisma Health Virtual Visit. Locations for drive-through testing and a list of COVID-19 symptoms can be found here: https://www.PrismaHealth.org/Coronavirus.
Prisma Health is relying on guidance provided by the CDC for returning employees to work safely. The current guidance is to offer symptom screening and does not include testing. Employees can start with the Prisma Health symptom checker to help determine risk level and identify next steps.
Prisma Health will continue to evaluate the CDC recommendations and modify our protocols to follow best practices. CDC also has a new FAQ section for businesses that may help answer some of your questions.
The Business Health Solutions team is working with our clinical experts to deliver programs that can help you return employees to work safely.
We highly encourage a phased approach to bringing employees back to work. Consider having those who can work from home continue to do so, and even consider alternating teams coming in to work. We are currently working to finalize plans to offer on-site temperature and symptom screenings. If you are interested in learning more about these services, please call our toll-free number at 833-890-2109 or contact us here: https://www.ghs.org/healthcareservices/business-health-contact/.
Dr. Rachel Brown is available to participate on a 30-minute phone call to guide your business on best practices to re-open safely. If interested, please call our toll-free number at 833-890-2109 or contact us here: https://www.ghs.org/healthcareservices/business-health-contact/.
Get the latest information on COVID-19 here: https://www.PrismaHealth.org/Coronavirus. This site includes links to the free Prisma Health Virtual Visit, symptom checker, the CDC and South Carolina DHEC. Please visit this webpage often as the information is updated frequently.
Dr. Bitner, Prisma Health Chair of Emergency Medicine, also conducted an interview with SC Biz that you can view here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIERy4-2m-w.
Prisma Health is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for the next phase of our response, which includes implementing antibody tests, participating in drug trials to find a cure, and working with our communities to prepare for the future.
CDC-recommended workplace controls to prevent the spread of COVID-19
The table below presents examples of controls to implement in your workplace. The most effective controls are those that rely on engineering solutions, followed by administrative controls, then PPE. PPE is the least effective control method and the most difficult to implement. Worksites may have to implement multiple complementary controls from these columns to effectively control the hazard.
Use the table below to implement the most appropriate controls for your workplace
Example Controls to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Work Environments
|Engineering||Administrative||Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)|
|Facilities and Equipment||Management and Communications||PPE|
Cleaning and Disinfection
Provide employees with training on:
From your health and wellness experts at Prisma Health
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