COVID-19 Disease Investigation Information for Businesses

Updated 08/3/20, 10 p.m.

To reduce the spread of disease, the Sedgwick County Health Department (SCHD) investigates reports of people who test positive for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The investigation includes determining the source of exposure, close contacts, and symptoms. If during the course of the investigation SCHD staff determine a positive case was infectious at a business, the business will be contacted if the employee gives permission to contact the employer (per House Bill 2016).

My employee tested positive, what should I do?

Contact SCHD by phone (316-660-7300) or email (COVID-19@sedgwick.gov).  Please contact SCHD staff prior to making business decisions. If an employee who tested positive did not work while infectious or if an employee is a close contact of a case, there is low risk of transmission in the business. Thank you for helping us protect the public’s health. If an employer calls SCHD about an employee who tested positive and the employee has not given permission to SCHD to discuss the case, SCHD provides general guidelines for what the business needs to do if they have a case. In that situation, SCHD cannot ask for the name of the case or close contacts.

How will a business be notified if an employee is COVID-19 positive?

Information to BUSINESSES about people who test positive for COVID-19 or who are in quarantine/isolation is confidential information and protected by patient privacy laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Per House Bill 2016, if an employee gives SCHD permission to contact their employer, SCHD will call a business and speak to a manager or to Human Resources if an employee who tested positive was infectious while at work, indicating transmission to other employees or customers could have occurred.

Do I need to close my BUSINESS if an employee or customer is COVID-19 positive?

In most cases, you do not need to shut down your facility. If it has been less than seven days since the employee or customer has been in the facility:

If it has been seven days or more since the employee or customer used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary. Continue routinely cleaning and disinfecting all high-touch surfaces in the facility.

You can view specific reopening instructions at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/248/Business-Employers.

What happens when an employee is around someone who is COVID-19 positive?

What is a close contact?

A close contact for COVID-19 is defined as being within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes (per KDHE guidance) or having direct contact with infectious droplets (cough, sneeze) of a person who is COVID-19 positive.

What happens if an employee is being tested for COVID-19?

If the employee is being tested for COVID-19 and has symptoms, he/she must stay home until test results come back. The employee may contact SCHD at 316-660-7300 if he/she has questions. 

If the employee’s test results are negative:

If the employee’s test results are positive:

How does the SCHD investigate disease transmission?

The SCHD epidemiologist staff interviews the person about their symptoms, exposure, close contacts, and where they have been while infectious.  If SCHD determines there was exposure to close contacts at your business during the time the employee was infectious, a SCHD epidemiologist staff member will contact the employee’s supervisor to determine close contacts. This occurs only if the employee gives permission to SCHD to contact the employer. This is confidential information and protected by patient privacy laws. If the employee was not infectious at work, SCHD will not contact the BUSINESS.

Will the SCHD provide COVID-19 testing for businesses?

Symptomatic Sedgwick County residents can be tested at no-cost through SCHD by dialing 2-1-1 United Way of the Plains. At this time, SCHD does not test asymptomatic residents except those in the following types of work:  

You can view testing guidance for specific businesses at https://www.sedgwickcounty.org/covid-19/testing-information/.

What can businesses and employers do to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

To prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, like the flu or COVID-19, businesses and employees should practice the following measures:

To help monitor the spread of disease across Sedgwick County, using an online application, employers can report to SCHD the total employees who are sick. The percent sick among all business that report will be summarized each week on the Sedgwick County website. No names of businesses and only aggregate numbers will be reported. The application is found here: www.sedgwickcounty.org/covid-19/daily-report-sick/.

Who do I contact with questions?

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Sedgwick County Health Department by phone (316-660-7300) or email (COVID-19@sedgwick.gov).