Practice owners may find themselves in a very unique position, given the environment surrounding the COVID‐19 pandemic. What should you do if an employee is exposed to or infected with COVID-19?

If an employee is believed to have exposure to, or there’s confirmation of a coronavirus infection, then employers should take all necessary safety and health precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If the suspected exposure to COVID‐19 is determined to be work-related, Higginbotham recommends the employer file a claim with its workers’ compensation insurance carrier immediately. We find many workers’ compensation carriers are approaching these claims on a case‐by‐case basis. Most have dedicated a specialized team of representatives to investigate claims to determine whether employee exposure is related to the scope of duties for their respective employment. It’s important to note that medical evidence will be necessary to determine the compensability of these claims.

If your practice has been required or mandated to have your employees work from home, and an injury occurs in the employee’s home within the scope of work and duties, we find some carriers will investigate and evaluate the claim as they would if the claim happened in the workplace.

Additional resources:
CDC: Discontinuation of Isolation for Persons with COVID-19 Not in Healthcare Settings
OSHA: Standards and directives (instructions for compliance officers) and other related information that may apply to worker exposure to the novel coronavirus.