Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 for Michigan Medicine workforce members

March 16, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

What are the latest travel recommendations for Michigan Medicine workforce members?

The University of Michigan has suspended all university-related international travel through April 21, 2020. Domestic business travel and all personal travel are discouraged.

All faculty, staff, students, visiting observers, visiting scholars and contractors with recent travel (within the past 14 days) should take the following actions:

  • Travel to any country with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) level 3 travel notice (currently China, South Korea, Iran and most of Europe) or to a Colorado ski resort:
    • Self-isolate for 14 days upon return to the United States.
    • Contact Occupational Health Services (OHS) to report travel.
    • Monitor for symptoms. If you become ill, contact OHS and your physician.
  • Travel anywhere outside of Michigan (international or domestic):
    • Do not contact OHS.
    • Monitor for symptoms. If you become ill, contact OHS and your physician.

Please note that airport layovers in affected countries may carry an exposure risk but do not require self-isolation, per CDC guidance.

For updated information about COVID-19 and travel, refer to the CDC website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

What should I do if I am exposed to someone with confirmed COVID-19 at work or in the community?

If you have a potential exposure to a patient with confirmed COVID-19 while at work, you will be contacted by Infection Prevention & Epidemiology (IPE) to conduct a risk assessment.

  • If it is determined that you had a low-risk exposure, you will be allowed to continue to work but should monitor for symptoms. If you become ill, you should contact OHS and your physician.
  • If your exposure was high-risk or medium-risk, you will be told to self-isolate for 14 days following the exposure, and OHS will contact you for active symptom monitoring. If you become ill, you should contact OHS and your physician.

If you have contact with any other individual (not a patient) with confirmed COVID-19 in the workplace or in the community, you should contact OHS for guidance.

I have been told to self-isolate following travel or exposure to an individual with confirmed COVID-19. What does this mean?

Self-isolation means staying away from other people as much as possible. Workforce members who are told to self-isolate should take the following precautions:

  • Stay home and avoid contact with others.
  • Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. 
  • Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares.
  • Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers), and limit your activities in public.
  • Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet).

What should I do if I have contact with someone who is being tested for COVID-19 at work or in the community?

As long as you are not having symptoms, you may continue to work. If the individual is later confirmed to have COVID-19, follow the guidance for exposures given above.

What should I do if I have contact with someone with symptoms of a respiratory infection (not confirmed as COVID-19) at work or in the community?

As long as you are not having symptoms, you may continue to work. If you become ill, follow the recommendations for ill workforce members given below.

What should I do if I had contact with someone who had no symptoms at the time but was later diagnosed with COVID-19?

If the individual had no symptoms at the time you had contact with them, the risk of transmission is very low. You may continue to work and should monitor for symptoms.

What should I do if I have contact with someone who was exposed to an individual with confirmed COVID-19?

As long as the exposed person is not ill, you may continue to work. If the exposed person is diagnosed with COVID-19, you should contact OHS.

What symptoms should I monitor for following exposure to an individual with confirmed COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. On average, symptoms occur 5 days following exposure, but can occur from 2-14 days following exposure.

Other possible symptoms include chills, headache, body aches, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea.

These symptoms are not specific to COVID-19 and can occur with other viral respiratory infections (e.g., influenza).

What should I do if I become ill?

If you become ill following exposure to an individual with confirmed COVID-19, you should not come to work and should contact OHS and your physician.

Otherwise, you should follow established guidance for Michigan Medicine workforce members with presumed viral respiratory infections:

  • For fever (temperature >100.4F or 38C) and upper respiratory infection (nasal congestion, sore throat, cough)
  • OR laboratory-confirmed influenza
  • OR influenza-like illness (upper respiratory infection plus chills, headache, or myalgia) with or without fever
    • Remain off work until fever and other symptoms have resolved for 24 hours without use of medication
  • For upper respiratory infection without fever or cough:
    • You may continue to work but should wear a mask during patient contact

Unless you had an exposure to an individual with confirmed COVID-19 or are diagnosed with COVID-19, you do not need to be cleared by OHS to return to work following illness.

For additional information about work restrictions for workforce members with infectious diseases, please refer to the UMHS Infection Prevention work restrictions policy:

https://michmed-clinical.policystat.com/policy/7415053/latest/

How can I be tested for COVID-19?

Testing for COVID-19 is not available at OHS. Testing is currently available at select Michigan Medicine ambulatory locations and must be coordinated by your physician. A hotline will soon be available to facilitate testing for Michigan Medicine patients and workforce members.

What should I do if I am waiting for my COVID-19 test result?

You should self-isolate and not come to work until the test result is available. If the test result is negative, you may return to work per the work restrictions policy referenced above in consultation with OHS.

What should I do if I am diagnosed with COVID-19?

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you should contact OHS and stay at home unless you require medical attention. You must be cleared to return to work by OHS in consultation with the local health department.

Recommendations about how to prevent transmission to others can be found at:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

How can I protect myself from exposure to COVID-19 at work?

You should follow recommendations from IPE for appropriate use of personal protective equipment and practice hand hygiene regularly.

Updated recommendations can be found at:

http://www.med.umich.edu/i/ice/resources/coronavirus.html

Should I care for patients who are being tested for COVID-19 or who have confirmed COVID-19 if I am pregnant or have an underlying medical condition?

Workforce members caring for patients who are being tested for COVID-19 or who have confirmed COVID-19 should not:

  • Be pregnant
  • Be breastfeeding
  • Be immunocompromised
    • Persons with primary or acquired immunodeficiency
    • Persons on anti-rejection therapy following solid organ transplant or bone marrow transplant
    • Persons on biologic therapeutic agents such as tumor necrosis factor inhibitors
    • Persons with malignancy and ongoing or recent chemotherapy
    • Persons receiving systemic immunosuppressive therapy, including corticosteroids equivalent to 20 mg/day of prednisone for ?2 weeks
    • Be 70 years of age or older
    • Be unable to wear an N95 mask or powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) if indicated
    • Be unable to don and doff personal protective equipment safely

Workforce members with the above conditions may continue to provide care for patients with respiratory illness who are not being tested for COVID-19.

How do I contact OHS?

  • For urgent matters, call 734-764-8021.
  • For non-urgent matters, email occupational-health@med.umich.edu.
  • If possible, contact OHS by phone or email prior to visiting in person.
  • OHS is located at C380 Med Inn Building; hours of operation are 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Additional resources:

Michigan Medicine novel coronavirus information: http://www.med.umich.edu/i/ice/resources/coronavirus.html

OHS website: https://hr.umich.edu/benefits-wellness/health-well-being/occupational-health-services

CDC COVID-19 information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

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