How to handle a COVID-19 case in the workplace? A Hawaii HR firm offers tips.

Updated: Sep. 2, 2020 at 5:59 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - It happened at HMSA and Hawaiian Airlines and it’s happening in smaller businesses, retailers and mom and pop shops across the state, too.

COVID-19 is in the community — and more and more businesses are seeing cases among employees.

“We get a lot of questions every day. How do a keep my business running? How do I keep my employees safe? How do I keep my customers safe?” said Michelle Kim Stone, corporate counsel and director of legal operations for ProService Hawaii, a human resources firm that has two COVID-19 guides on its website.

The big question is: “Your Employee tests positive for COVID-19. What do you do?”

To help businesses answer that question, ProService has come out with guides for employers.

The best advice, said Stone, is to: “Take a deep breath. Take immediate action.”

ProService has 14 COVID-19 scenarios under guidance from the CDC and state Health Department. The general rule: If your employee tests positive or their close contact gets infected, they should quarantine for 14 days. The guide also advises what to do if there are two degrees of separation.

“If an employee has contact with someone who has contact with someone else who has tested positive and that is a more remote situation. The employee can continue to work, but just has to self-monitor for symptoms,” she said.

ProService says legally employers do not have to tell customers that they’ve had a positive case, but they must protect the identity of the person who tested positive. Stone does encourage businesses to inform their customers about what is happening without revealing personal information.

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