Updated January 29, 2020
Oregon OSHA temporary rule beginning November 16 requires employers to notify exposed or affected workers within 24 hours of learning of a workplace COVID-19 infection.
Remember COVID-19 spreads easily and is widespread throughout our community. If an employee gets COVID-19, be kind and compassionate.
Employees who test positive for COVID-19 must stay home from work.
If they have symptoms, they can return to work after:
- They have no fever for 24 hours without the use of medicine, AND
- Their symptoms improve, AND
- At least 10 days have passed since they first had symptoms
If they don’t have symptoms, they can return to work after:
- 10 days have passed since their test, and they have no symptoms
Employers should not require employees to have a negative test before being allowed to return to work.
- Health Officer Recommendations on Workplace Testing for COVID-19 (191.27 KB)
- Recomendaciones de la Funcionaria de Salud respecto a la prueba de COVID-19 para los empleados (149.92 KB)
- Oregon Health Authority: Employee Screening Recommendations for COVID-19 (262.63 KB)
Employers must work with Health Department case investigators and contact tracers to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in their workplace. Employers must also allow any employees who were required to quarantine or isolate to return to their previous job duties.
It is important to make every effort to protect an employee’s private health information, even in smaller work environments. Public health officials will work with employers to determine what information needs to be shared with additional staff in the workplace.
Communication with the Health Department
COVID-19 positive lab results are automatically reported to the local public health system. Public health staff will interview the person who tested positive to identify possible worksite exposures.
If an employee has been teleworking, or if the business has a single case and has maintained proper physical distancing, the Health Department may determine that there were no work-related close contacts. In that case, they will not call the employer.
If an employer receives a report of an employee with a positive COVID-19 test and has questions about how to proceed, they can call the Multnomah County Health Department at 503-988-3406.
If 2 or more cases are reported in their workplace, an employer should call the Multnomah County Health department at 503-988-3406. This may indicate an outbreak that requires additional follow up.
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Multnomah County does not publicize outbreak information, but the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) puts out a weekly report of workplace COVID-19 outbreaks with 5 or more cases and 30 or more employees.
If a food service or food processing facility employee tests positive for COVID-19, employers are mandated by Oregon law (OAR 333-019-1000 and OAR 333-150) to:
- Notify the local public health department. In Multnomah County call 503-988-3406.
- Work with public health to determine which employees had close contact with the employee; 15 minutes or more within 6 feet over a single day, with or without masks.
- Follow all applicable laws and regulations to maintain confidentiality and protect personal health information of the employee.
In most cases, you do not need to shut down your facility because of a positive case. Communication with public health officials is very important. The more health officials understand about your operation, the more they will be able to help you work through solutions to find the option that will be least disruptive to your business operations.
Does an employee have to tell me if they have tested positive for COVID-19?
Food service employees are required by law to tell their employer they tested positive for COVID-19.
If an employee does not work in food service, they are not required to tell their employer. It is up to non-food service employees whether they want to share test results with their employer or coworkers.
Contact tracers take every precaution to determine an exposure without disclosing a person’s name, but may need to disclose the person's name to the workplace to identify exposed co-workers or clients. They will reach out to individuals and workplaces (when applicable) to inform them of potential exposure and provide guidance.
Communicable Disease Services