Faced with a special challenge of preventing the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in large workplaces, the Quezon City government has issued guidelines to enhance contact tracing and enforcement of health protocols in companies with 100 or more employees.
“These guidelines require such workplaces to implement certain health measures to contain the disease, minimize employee risk and economic effects,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said in her memorandum to call centers and other workplaces with large manpower.
The lady Mayor added that the latest guidelines will help speed up contact tracing in case of positive COVID-19 cases in such workplaces.
Under the guidelines, Belmonte has tasked workplaces with 100 or more employees to conduct meticulous contact tracing when there is a confirmed COVID-19 case among their employees or close contacts of their employees.
A person is considered a close contact if he or she had a face-to-face contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within one meter distance, for more than 15 minutes and within a 14 day period from the confirmed case’s onset of symptoms.
Companies with such cases must require close contacts to complete a 14-day home quarantine if no COVID-19 symptoms were exhibited. The management should undertake the swab testing of the close contact if the person exhibits any COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, difficulty breathing or body aches.
“In either case, close contacts should not be allowed to report for work immediately upon identification as such, and should be required to self-isolate at home,” Belmonte said.
The close contact may end quarantine when the person ends the 14-day quarantine without symptoms, as confirmed by a medical doctor, or a certification showing a negative swab test.
If economically feasible, companies are encouraged to provide daily allowance to employees on home quarantine.
To help speed up contact tracing, the local government mandates big companies to require each employee to list down all usual close contacts, both inside and outside work, even prior to any confirmed or suspect COVID-19 case.
“Employees are also required to undergo self-monitoring for symptoms daily. Employees that experience any onset of symptoms during work should inform their supervisor and leave the workplace immediately,” said Belmonte.
In addition, the city government enjoins companies to strictly implement the usual preventive measures, such as improved workplace ventilation, practice work from home if possible, use of face masks, physical distancing and frequent sanitation and disinfection of workplace.
Companies that violate the guidelines face suspension or revocation of business permit, aside from other applicable penalties under relevant laws, ordinances or regulations.