NHRMC Employee Exposure Protocol Updated

March 26, 2020
COVID-19 has become more prevalent in our state and our region, and NHRMC is committed to protecting our employees and our patients. In order to ensure that we have adequate staff available to serve our community, NHRMC has updated its protocol for employees who have been exposed to a COVID-19 patient.

NHRMC joins other healthcare systems across the state and nation in following The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendation for having employees continue to work after potential COVID-19 exposure. 

NHRMC Employee Health will evaluate all employees with potential COVID-19 exposure. If an exposed employee shows symptoms associated with COVID-19, they must immediately contact Employee Health and be removed from work. Asymptomatic employees will continue to work and will be required to wear a facemask for 14 days after exposure.

See the CDC’s guidelines for community mitigation strategies here.

The following process has been adopted for personnel exposed to COVID-19: 

Personnel who are exposed (whether or not work-related) to a confirmed positive COVID-19 patient:

  • Exposed personnel will undergo active monitoring with Employee Health.
  • Employee Health will require exposed personnel to record temperature and symptoms twice per day and report any abnormal temperatures or symptoms to Employee Health.
  • Exposed personnel may continue to work unless they develop signs/symptoms of respiratory viral infection. Exposed personnel who develop signs/symptoms must notify Employee Health immediately and remove from work.
  • Exposed personnel must use a surgical mask in the workspace for 14 days after date of exposure, regardless of symptoms.
  • Exposed personnel should not care for or be assigned to work in areas with immunocompromised patients.
  • Exposed personnel’s temperature and symptoms to be evaluated at the beginning of each shift.
  • Note: Exposure = more than 10 continuous minutes of close contact (within 6 feet) without Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • These guidelines will be distributed to primary care providers in the region. Based on your specific medical condition, your PCP may recommend an alternative plan of care. Employee Health will work with your PCP to ensure that you receive appropriate care. 

Employees with exposure to COVID-19 who develop symptoms:

If any of the below conditions are present within 14 days from the last exposure, then Employee Health will review the individual’s situation to determine
if quarantine and home isolation are needed.
  • Symptoms = respiratory symptoms (a change from baseline shortness of breath, cough, sore throat, malaise)

or

  • Fever = reported or documented temperature greater than or equal to 100.0
  • Personnel who develop a fever and respiratory symptoms will be referred for COVID-19 testing through Employee Health 

Personnel who test positive for COVID-19:

  • Require home isolation with active monitoring by Employee Health
  • May return to work after a minimum of seven (7) days, 72 hours without signs and symptoms and two (2) negative test samples (24 hours apart)