Updated 6 October 2020
Coronavirus Guide for dealing with positive COVID- 19 tests & COVID – 19 symptoms in staff groups (Non Education Settings)
Information on COVID-19 can be located on People Anytime.
When do employees need to self-isolate
There are three scenarios in which an employee would have to self-isolate for an extended period:
- they have symptoms of coronavirus
- they have been informed by an NHS contact tracer that they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
- they live with a person who has symptoms or has tested positive
(You may also be required to self-isolate or ‘quarantine’ if returning from overseas – please see the Travel guidance for more specific information)
The local NHS Grampian Health Protection Team (HPT) will be notified of any positive case in complex settings and will be in touch to offer support and advice to the establishment.
What is a Close contact?
Somebody who has been near someone with coronavirus and could have been infected. Close contacts may have been near the infected person at some point in the 48 hours before their symptoms appeared, or at any time since symptoms appeared. HPT consider a close contact to be someone coming within the following distances of a positive test case:
- Face to Face for any period of time
- 1 metre (around 3 feet) of them for any length of time
- 2 metres (around 6 feet) of them for 15 minutes or more cumulatively
The closer and longer the contact, the higher the risk.
If you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive, someone from NHS Scotland contact Test and Protect tracing team will get in touch. There may be times when everyone in a particular place will be considered to be contacts, but the usual approach is to identify contacts through careful discussion with the person with the positive test result. This means that depending on the situation, you might not be contacted even if you were in the same premises as someone who has tested positive; this will be on the basis that it appears you have not had ‘close contact.’ If you’re a close contact but do not live with the person who has tested positive or in an extended household with them, isolate at home for 14 days from the last day you had contact. You will be told what day this was.
You need to do this even if you have tested negative as you could still be incubating the virus.
During isolation, you should physically distance yourself from other unexposed people* in your home, You should be especially mindful of any vulnerable individuals. Further guidance is available here on how to achieve this.
*If you do not have symptoms yourself and are self-isolating as a close contact of person who is a confirmed case, other people in your own household will not be asked to self-isolate along with you – unless they have also been in close contact with a person who is a confirmed case.
Others in your household do not need to isolate as long as you have no symptoms.
If you haven’t developed symptoms after 14 days you can come out of isolation but should continue to follow physical distancing measures.
More about isolation timelines is available through the Scottish Government.
Please refer to the Staying Safe While Working pages to reduce the risk of becoming a close contact.
Service risk assessments and the Council’s COVID-19 guidance on the Staying Safe While Working pages are clear that 2 m physical distancing should be maintained between people. This includes in workplaces, during work activities, travelling, breaks times, etc. They also detail the controls in place if staff (e.g. social care) cannot always maintain 2 m physical distancing.
Other controls include:
Washing hands for 20 seconds at regular intervals preferably with soap and water or hand sanitiser.
Wiping down contacted surfaces regularly using anti-bacterial surface cleaning products available. This would include desktops, computer keyboard, equipment, etc.
No physical contact with anyone, e.g. shaking hands.
A manager should report cases to their Service manager who need to contact Employee Relations (EmployeeRelations@aberdeencity.gov.uk) copying in the relevant Chief Officer for the affected service under the following circumstances:
- Where there has been a positive test within the service and at least one other team member or someone they have worked closely with has been contacted via track and trace and identified as a close contact in the setting within 14 days
- Where there has been a positive test within the service and at least one other team member is showing symptoms in the setting within 14 days
- Increase in the rate of absence due to suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19
Employee Relations will then refer to the Health Protection Team for further advice where required, or to notify of a potential outbreak.
What to do if there is a positive case of COVID-19 or if someone in the Team is showing symptoms or has been contacted by Test and Protect as a close contact – Managers Checklist
Where you have a member of your team who has developed symptoms after leaving the workplace or has had a positive COVID-19 test result, please refer to the Managers Decision Tree and follow the below checklist from the ‘Testing’ heading onwards.
Send the individual home as soon as they notice symptoms and follow the stay at home guidance and self-isolate for 10 days minimum.
If they are so unwell that they require an ambulance you should:
Where possible they should minimise contact with others i.e. use a private vehicle to go home. If it is not possible to use private transport, then they should be advised to return quickly and directly home.
If possible, a household member could pick them up; the whole household will need to self-isolate for the required period.
If they have to use public transport, they should try to keep away from other people and catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue. If you don’t have any tissues available, they should cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow. Always making sure to wear a face covering if traveling on public transport.
ACC process requires that Anyone with symptoms must now request a test. Make sure the member of staff has access to the Test & Protect information that is now available for all Aberdeen City Council Employees and not just those deemed as critical workers.
Anyone contacted by Test and Protect should follow the advice given by the contact tracer.
Leaving the Workplace
It is not necessary to send any staff home, unless they meet the self-isolation criteria:
Keep monitoring the government response page for the latest details.
Cleaning and Disinfection
Where an individual has shown symptoms whilst in the workplace you must clear the area of people immediately and notify the Cleaning Services Management Team immediately, where after they will arrange to disinfect the immediate area occupied by the individual, i.e. their desk/workstation (and isolation space, if one has been used). Other potentially contaminated high contact areas such as keyboards, telephones, door handles, grab rails, etc. will also be disinfected. After these processes have been completed, the affected areas can be put back into use.
Where an individual has left work and then shown symptoms or tested positive afterwards, immediate further cleaning and disinfection will not be required as these area/s will be covered by routine cleaning processes. You should still, however, notify the Cleaning Services Management Team for their awareness.
This guidance is in line with current Health Protection Scotland Advice.
The relevant service manager should contact Employee Relations (EmployeeRelations@aberdeencity.gov.uk) copying in relevant Chief Officer for the affected service under the following circumstances:
- Where there has been a positive test and at least one other team member or someone they have been working in close proximity to has been contacted via track and trace and identified as a close contact of that person in the setting within 14 days
- Where there has been a positive test and at least one other team member is showing symptoms in the setting within 14 days.
- Increase in background rate of absence due to suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19
Employee Relations will then refer to the Health Protection Team for further advice where required or to notify of a potential outbreak.
In these instances where you have to contact employee relations please review your risk assessment and you must seek guidance and feedback on working practices from Health and Safety (HSW@aberdeencity.gov.uk ).
Any team members performing alternative working arrangements need to update CoreHR as follows (you can do this on their behalf):
To be used where an individual has symptoms and is too unwell to undertake any work due to COVID-19.
Reason: COVID – Symptoms
COVID – Working from Home/Alt Work
To be used where an individual is able to undertake work from home but they or their household are required to self-isolate.
Reason: COVID – Self Isolation/Symptoms
Special Leave Paid
To be used where an individual is unable to work from home or in an alternative way but they or their household is required to self-isolate
Reason: COVID – Self Isolation/Symptoms
Please stay in regular contact with all team members and check in on their health and wellbeing, updating CoreHR as needed to reflect changing circumstances. A full list or recording options can be found on the Managers Guidance page.
We must remember first and foremost that information about people’s health is sensitive and private, and to make sure that we only share necessary information with people who really need to know.
If it is necessary to share this status, you should not normally share the name of the staff member affected (unless you have their permission to do so), and it would be enough in this situation to tell colleagues that someone they work with has/potentially has Covid-19.
Whilst it may be the case in some teams, especially smaller ones who work closely together, that the team may have an idea who it if affected because that member of staff is absent, as a manager you still need to be careful in all cases that the only information shared is that necessary.
It is not necessary to send any staff home, unless they meet the self-isolation criteria. Keep monitoring the Scottish government response page for the latest details. Please discuss with your Chief Officer if you have further concerns about keeping the workplace open.
If you have queries about whether any of your staff should be attending work, you should refer to the Managers’ Decision Tree within the Symptoms and Protecting Vulnerable People section of our Managers’ Guidance. You can also refer team members to these pages and to the NHS inform pages
- Report incident on Corporate Health & Safety System on YourHR as a near miss in the following instances:
- An employee displays symptoms or tests positive and other staff are contacted by Test and Protect and told to self-isolate but don’t then go on to exhibit symptoms
- An incident report is required where either:
- The employee is known to have caught the virus at work; or
- First employee catches virus and passes virus to colleagues who then exhibit symptoms or test positive
- After reporting a near miss or incident, review your risk assessment in line with the Staying Safe whilst at work guidance and seek advice from Corporate Health and Safety Team on the results of your review to ensure that the correct identification of root causes, additional controls and that these controls have been implemented.
- Communicate any changes to team.
Issue reminder to team on new procedures.