Workers to be screened for COVID-19 under new Oakland County order

Karen Bouffard
The Detroit News

Employees at newly opened Oakland County businesses must be screened for COVID-19 and are required to wear face masks under an order issued Saturday by Oakland County Health Officer Leigh Anne Stafford. 

The order extends provisions of a previously issued order to include workplaces opening up as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home orders are eased. They're based on guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the county. 

“As we begin a phased re-opening of the economy, it is vital that the strict protocols we have in place extend to all open businesses,” County Executive David Coulter said in a news release Saturday.

Leigh-Anne Stafford

“These protocols protect employees and customers and they will reassure the public that every step is being taken to prevent a second spike of the virus as we shift to new phases of re-opening our economy.”

Employees will be checked for a fever higher than 100.4 degrees, preferably with a no-touch thermometer. If a thermometer isn't available, employees can simply be asked if they have a fever, according to the order.  

Workers also will be asked if they have shortness of breath or other symptoms such as an unexplained cough, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste, extreme fatigue or diarrhea that's not due to a known medical condition.

Employees also will be asked if they've traveled internationally or outside of Michigan, other than commuting from a home outside of Michigan, or been in contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19, in the previous 14 days.

If an employee answers yes to any of those questions, the county health department order has outlined a strategy.

Employees who have a fever, cough or shortness of breath — or at least two of the other symptoms — will be sent home. They can return to work 10 days after their symptoms first appeared, but only if at least three days have passed since they had a fever, and other symptoms have improved.

Workers who have traveled, other than those commuting from a home outside Michigan, will be excluded from the workplace for 14 days. An exception is made for essential workers whose travel is related to the supply chain or critical infrastructure.

Those who've been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus, will be excluded from the workplace for 14 days. The rule doesn't apply to health care institutions, public health workers and others involved in battling the pandemic. 

“Oakland County residents have been so supportive practicing social distancing to flatten the curve and slow the transmission of COVID-19,” Stafford said.

“While social distancing plays a key role in continuing to reduce transmission, face coverings and employee screenings will be essential as businesses reopen according to the governor's orders.”

Twitter: @kbouffardDN