In recent days there have been a lot of questions about what you should do if you have an employee that tests positive for COVID-19. There has been no clear step-by-step direction from regulatory agencies as to how you should precede other than what the patient who tested positive should do. This is partly due to the fact that this does not require regulatory action on the part of inspection agencies.
In phone calls today with the USDA Office of Food Safety and FSIS, the agency is directing us to use the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Guidelines for Businesses. An employee that tests positive for the virus does not affect the food being produced; the virus does not spread in food or food packaging, it spreads person to person. There are a number of ways a company can choose to address the situation and that varies from business to business depending on a number of circumstances.
The main questions to ask yourselves are: How do I protect the rest of my employees and how many of them have had close contact with the infected employee? Remember, just because someone is exposed to the virus it does not mean they have it or will become sick from it. The decisions that need to be made after an employee has tested positive can be very difficult, so it is in the best interest of you and your employees to do everything you can to remain healthy. Preventing infection should be the number one priority of you and your staff during this time.
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