What are businesses in Utah who have employees test positive for COVID-19 required to do?

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Cashier Nancy Alvarez wears a protective mask as she works behind a plastic shield at the Presidente Supermarket during the new coronavirus pandemic, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in Hialeah, Fla. All employees are required to wear masks which are provided by the company. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – As the case counts in Utah continue to rise, more and more people are unsure of what businesses are required to do should the have one of their own employees test positive for COVID-19.

Based on a statement issued by the Utah Health Department businesses are not required to shut down with the report of an employee who has tested positive but say any employees who came into close contact up to two days before the employee tested positive, or first got sick, should quarantine for 14 days.

“Close contact means an employee was closer than 6 feet or 2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) for 15 minutes or longer to the person who tested positive. Tell these employees they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and should quarantine. You need to be very careful to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the employee who tested positive.”

The state health department said that specific employee should isolate right away, meaning they need to stay at home and away from other people as much as possible.

The employee should not come to work. The health department will call the employee to find out who he or she was in close contact with up to 2 days before getting sick or testing positive. This is called contact tracing. Contact tracing is an important part of how public health responds and stops disease outbreaks.

According to the health department, people who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 are at a higher risk of getting infected and infecting others.  

Anyone who feels any business is not following the recommended guidelines and wants to make a safety complaint may call the Utah Occupational Safety & Health at 801-530-6901 or visit their website at laborcommission.utah.gov.

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