Healthcare positions are subject to different work based restrictions which are determined in conjunction with the hospital operating status (e.g. whether it is in contingency, crisis or normal) and those mentioned above. Specifics on healthcare worker policies are located on the CDC
In the event that you receive a positive test through at-home testing, community-based testing, or through NIH testing facilities NIH personnel will be required to do the following, dependent upon your work status:
What Happens When Someone Tests Positive?
Every staff member (contract and federal) who receives a community-based COVID-19 test result indicating current infection must report that result to OMS through the
OMS COVID-19 screening questionnaire. Personnel tested at the NIH testing sites are automatically reported to the system. Contact investigations (CI) are conducted upon receipt of report of a NIH worker newly diagnosed with COVID-19. OMS initiates the contact tracing process by calling the individual (index case) to discuss the result and conduct the index case interview the same evening. This interview aims to determine when the affected worker may have been infectious and whether others may have been at risk for exposure to SARS-CoV-2. The interviewer will collect details such as: where the person worked; what NIH facilities were visited; use of protective measures; and, who they came into contact with while working on site. Contact tracers confirm the employee’s account with the supervisor. If indicated, they obtain relevant contact information, and initiate the risk assessment of contacts as soon as possible. The utmost care is taken not to identify the worker to others in the workplace. Within 24 hours of receipt of a new positive test result by OMS, an OMS clinician provides a form to the supervisor stating a general health condition prevents affected staff from coming to the worksite or into contact with others. Contact case interviews aim to estimate the level of risk of exposure and provide recommendations to contain further spread (see section below). Definitions and descriptions of the different risk levels are included in Appendix II - Exposure Risk Assessment Definitions.
Information from contact tracing is used to notify specific personnel who may have had high- risk (i.e., greater than 15 minutes, within 6 feet, and wearing appropriate PPE) contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. It is also used to notify personnel who may have been in a location where a COVID-19 patient was present. These notifications improve awareness for potentially exposed personnel so that they may make educated choices regarding their personal health monitoring and testing. All notifications are made ensuring that no personal health information is shared. For all high-risk exposures, notifications are made using phone calls and e-mail. For healthcare settings, email, postings on NIH internet and intranet sites, and signs posted in affected locations will be used for personnel who may have been in an area where a positive case was present but did not have high-risk contact with those personnel.
Patient care and patient care support staff are excluded from returning to their onsite workspace for the minimum duration of their infectious or at-risk period, as required by the OSHA ETS. Institutional policies may extend the exclusion period to protect vulnerable patient and employee groups. Guidance for others experiencing high and low risk exposures is provided below in the section “Exposures to SARS-CoV-2”. Decisions regarding an employee’s return-to-work after COVID-19-related medical workplace removal are made by OMS providers. Removal from the workplace can be shortened for persons presumptively positive for COVID-19 if they have an appropriately timed negative PCR COVID-19 test. NIH provides this testing at no cost to employees. An appropriately timed test means a test at least 3 to 5 days after high-risk exposure to a COVID-19 positive person.
The Safer Federal Workforce FAQs state that employees isolated after a positive COVID -19 diagnosis may request sick leave if they are unable to telework. Weather and Safety leave is no longer available for this purpose. Employees may also request accrued annual leave or other forms of paid or unpaid leave.
All work associated COVID-19 cases are logged within 24 hours. The COVID-19 log contains, for each instance, all information required by OSHA under the OSHA Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness standard (29 CFR 1904), including the employee's name, one form of contact information, occupation, location where the employee worked, the date of the employee's last day at the workplace, the date of the positive test for, or diagnosis of, COVID-19, and the date the employee first had one or more COVID-19 symptoms, if any were experienced. This information is a confidential medical record. However, personnel may request their record by contacting the NIH Occupational Medical Service. A redacted version of all cases is also available upon request.