7/27: COVID-19 Screening, Symptom, and Exposure Reporting Process for Onsite Employees

Date: July 27, 2020

To: USC Supervisors and Onsite Employees, HR Partners

From: Sarah Van Orman, MD, Chief Health Officer for USC Student Health
Felicia A. Washington, Senior Vice President for Human Resources
Deona Willes, Director of Environmental Health and Safety

Re: COVID-19 Screening, Symptom, and Exposure Reporting Process for Onsite Employees

We want to reinforce USC’s screening, symptom, and exposure reporting process for employees who are working onsite. (The following information does not necessarily pertain to employees of Keck Medicine of USC; Keck employees are referred to processes specifically from Keck Medicine of USC Human Resources.)
 
You may have already learned the information below from the webinar held last week. (Note, during the webinar, the quoted figure of 22,000 new cases in Los Angeles is for the preceding week, not the day.)
 
Expectations

All employees are expected to:

  • Complete the “Health Hygiene and Safety for Employees” learning module, either online or via paper. The module is available in English and Spanish. (The edition for Research Employees also meets this requirement.)
  • Complete a daily symptom check, either through Trojan Check (trojancheck.usc.edu) or via paper. The paper versions in English and Spanish are available online.
  • Stay home from work if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 listed on the attached symptom form, or if they are exposed through close contact (within 6 ft. for 15 minutes or longer) with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

What if there is a case or exposure to COVID-19 at a University site?

The University has established a very robust program for handling cases of exposure to COVID-19 and confirmed cases of the infection when they are identified. Here are some important things to know in case of an exposure:

  1. Faculty and Staff members who test positive should positive for COVID-19 should immediately contact the COVID-19 hotline at: 213-740-6291 or email covid19@usc.edu.
  2. The contact tracing team will need the following employee information: employee name, ID number, date of birth, mobile phone number where they can be reached, and department where they work. The employee will be given instructions for isolation and will be interviewed about personal and workspace exposures. 
  3. When a workplace exposure has occurred, the campus response team will convene, including appropriate department/unit representatives to coordinate workplace notification. Individuals are considered infectious beginning 48 hours before the onset of symptoms. If the employee has not been at work during the infectious period, notifications are not needed.
  4. If the employee is unable to make a notification to the hotline, only their Human Resources partner may make the notification to the hotline on behalf of the employee. If the contact tracing team needs follow up, they will work with the employee directly, using the contact information provided by the Human Resources partner.
     

While awaiting notifications, Supervisors must please observe the following instructions:

Do’s: 

  • Closing off spaces. If a COVID-19 positive employee recently worked in a confined space or has an individual office/workstation, management should evaluate closing the space. Enhanced cleaning of all common/shared spaces is regularly occurring. 
  • Acknowledging a case. To protect employee privacy, supervisors can only acknowledge a case and share further information about the campus investigation process if the COVID-19 positive employee has already notified co-workers. Supervisors can also share that additional information will be coming and that exposure is rare in work settings if physical distancing is maintained.
  • Employees concerned about being exposed. Refer employees with concerns about close contact to COVID-19 infected individuals (i.e., being within 6 ft. for 15 minutes or longer) to stay home and to call USC Student Health, 213-740-9355. A phone response from the nurse evaluation team to the employee will be initiated within 24 hours of receiving a report. The nurse evaluator can schedule COVID-19 testing based on the current screening criteria.
  • Compiling information for contact tracing. Assemble a list of all employees who worked in the area on the same shifts as the affected employee. Include name, DOB, mobile number, and employee ID. Provide this to your HR partner so this can be given to the contact tracing team. The contact tracing team may reach out to HR partners if additional information is necessary.

Don’ts:

  • Do not tell other employees to walk in for testing. A clinical interview and risk assessment is conducted with each person before testing is scheduled. All testing is pre-scheduled to prevent crowding at the test location.
  • Do not request cleaning of the area until an investigation has been conducted. Additional cleaning is often not required. 
  • Do not share personal information about the patient including their identity and health status with other members of the team.
  • Do not send emails or other notifications broadly about the exposure. Student Health and the campus response team will prepare and send notifications once full information is obtained.

What if I am exposed to someone with COVID-19 or if I am symptomatic?

Employees who are exposed to someone with or who are symptomatic of COVID-19 should immediately self-isolate and be tested. While USC Student Health does not need notification unless a positive test in confirmed, employees must notify their supervisors that they will not be coming in to work. Employees are encouraged to make use of the on-campus testing, as results are generally available within 24 hours. Many employees being tested in the community are experiencing long delays in receiving test results. Testing is available by calling 213-740-9335.  

Supervisors will be invited to a required follow-up webinar on workplace safety compliance and reporting processes. Dates and invitation will be sent shortly under separate cover.

We thank you for all you are doing to keep USC a productive, operational, and most of all, safe community.