Last week, the P. R. Department of Health (DOH) updated its “Preliminary Guideline on the Criteria that Every Employer Shall Consider for the Return to Work of an Employee Suspected or Confirmed with COVID-19” (“Guía Preliminar Sobre los Criterios que Debe Considerar Todo Patrono al Regreso de un Empleado con COVID-19, Sospechoso o Confirmado”).
The updated Guideline now incorporates the mandate of Governor Wanda Vázquez-Garced under Executive Order 2020-060 requiring employers to notify the DOH of any suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases in the workplace. To facilitate the employer’s compliance with this new reporting duty, the DOH has issued a form, which can be downloaded here. Any COVID-19 suspected or confirmed cases should be reported using this form and sent by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The updated DOH Guideline also reiterates that:
- employers should actively encourage sick employees to stay at home,
- if the employee has COVID-19-related symptoms he/she should notify his/her supervisor and stay home,
- sick employees may not return to work until they meet the CDC requirements for discontinuing in-home isolation,
- if an employee appears to have COVID-19-related symptoms, the employer should immediately isolate the employee from other employees and send him/her home,
- if the employee is in good health, but lives with a person confirmed of having COVID-19, he/she should notify his/her supervisor and self-isolate until the CDC criteria for discontinuing in-home isolation are met.