covid 19 virus

COVID-19 – Workplace Screening FAQ

Last revised/reviewed:  2:26 p.m., January 13, 2021

1. What is active screening?
2. Who needs to be screened each day?
3. What are the questions that must be asked for the screening?
4. Should our workplace assign a screening person to ask staff the screening questions or can everyone use a self-directed screening tool?
5. Do I need to document all of my staff’s answers, including their answers about symptoms?
6. What happens if I have a staff that lives in another region of Ontario?  Are they allowed to come to work?
7. My staff member thinks they have been in contact with a person who is COVID-19 positive, but is unsure how to answer this question on the screening? What should they do?
8. Should temperatures be taken as part of our screening process?
9. If we are doing active screening, does this mean we don’t need passive screening (e.g., posters)?
10.What happens if an employee does not pass the screening?
11. What advice can I provide my employees to reduce their risk of COVID-19 exposure?
12. Should school and childcare staff complete active screening each day?
13. Should I use the worker screening tool to screen any customers or patrons coming into the workplace?


1. What is active screening?

Active screening is the process of answering a set of screening questions to identify any COVID-19 risk factors. Screening questions can be answered using a paper or electronic tool or questions may be asked directly by a designated screener.

2. Who needs to be screened each day?

As per provincial regulation,  every workplace must actively screen every worker/employee  at the beginning of their day or shift before they enter the workplace.  This screening tool does not apply to health care settings (including long-term care homes), and some non-health care workplaces (e.g., retirement homes, other congregate living settings, schools and schools and child care) where existing screening requirements and tools are already in place. Screening is not required for emergency services or other first responders entering a workplace for emergency purposes.

3. What are the questions that must be asked for the screening?

As a minimum, workplaces must use the Ontario COVID-19 Worker and Employee Screening Tool.

 4. Should our workplace assign a screening person to ask staff the screening questions or can everyone use a self-directed screening tool?

The optimal practice for active screening is to have a person assigned to ask the designated screening questions. Workplaces that implement this practice on-site should ensure that the screener is behind a physical barrier (e.g., plexiglass) to protect from droplet and contact spread or stand at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from an individual. Alcohol-based hand rub, tissue, and a lined no-touch waste basket or bin should also be available at each entrance. If your workplace uses a self-directed screening tool, staff must complete an attestation documenting completion.

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5. Do I need to document all of my staff’s answers, including their answers about symptoms?

No. You are not required to keep a record of each individual answer, but should keep a record of which staff passed the screening and attended work. It is recommended that you keep this documentation for a minimum of 30 days. Peterborough Public Health would only request this information in the event of a positive COVID-19 case at your workplace and contact tracing is required. It is important to note that any symptom-related answers recorded along with the staff members name, or any other identifying information would constitute personal health information and would need to comply with the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA).

 6. What happens if I have a staff that lives in another region of Ontario?  Are they allowed to come to work?

Yes. Essential workers that live in another region of Ontario are still permitted to attend work, however work from home arrangements, if feasible, are strongly recommended at this time.

7. My staff member thinks they have been in contact with a person who is COVID-19 positive, but is unsure how to answer this question on the screening? What should they do?

If a person was in contact with others while infectious, Peterborough Public Health will determine whether there was any increased risk of exposure to others. If there is risk of exposure to others, a Public Health Nurse from Peterborough Public Health will follow-up with these individuals and advise them of their next steps. To be considered a “close contact’ of someone who is positive for COVID-19, an individual would need to be less than 2 metres away in the same room, workspace, or area for more than 15 minutes with a confirmed case of COVID-19, starting from 48 hours before the person began having symptoms or 48 hours before the test day for people who did not have symptoms. If the concerned individual has not been contacted by Peterborough Public Health, but feel they meet the “close contact” definition, encourage them to call and speak with a Public Health Nurse at 705-743-1000.

 8. Should temperatures be taken as part of our screening process?

At this time, temperature taking is not a screening practice recommended by Peterborough Public Health. Some workplaces may have a higher authority advising to implement temperature taking (some regulatory bodies require this), but this is not a practice required by Peterborough Public Health. It is important to note that any temperature screening that records this information is a collection of personal health information and would need to comply with the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA).

9. If we are doing active screening, does this mean we don’t need passive screening (e.g., posters)?

No. The requirement for workplaces to implement active screening is in addition to the passive screening controls that every workplace should have in place.  Passive screening occurs when signage is posted at the entrance of workplaces reminding everyone of the requirements to enter (no symptoms, masks required, sanitizing hands, etc.). Examples of passive screening signage is available on the Peterborough Public Health website.

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10. What happens if an employee does not pass the screening?

If you have an employee that does not pass the screening, they should complete the following steps:

  • Complete the provincial online self-assessment tool and follow the direction given at the end of the assessment.
  • Does the self-assessment tool recommend testing?  This is a list of the testing options if you live in Peterborough County or City. If testing ensues, use the “Tested Now What” fact sheet to determine next steps.
  • Is your employee reporting they have been in contact with someone who may have tested positive? If you have not been contacted by Public Health, your workplace is not considered to be at risk of infection and work may continue as usual. Close contacts of a confirmed or probable positive case will be contacted by Public Health and advised of next steps.
  • Is your employee reporting they have been in contact with someone who has symptoms or someone who travelled? Only the person who has symptoms or has travelled outside Canada is required to self-isolate. Other household members do not need to self-isolate or get tested and may return to work.
  • Is your employee reporting they have a child that has been tested? Follow this fact sheet for next steps.

11. What advice can I provide my employees to reduce their risk of COVID-19 exposure?

Advice for members of your workplace every day: practice good respiratory hygienewash your hands frequently, follow physical distancing measures, wear a face mask, download the federal COVID Alert app, and self-monitor using the provincial self-assessment tool. This information and much more can be found on our COVID-19 Workplaces website.

12. Should school and childcare staff complete active screening each day?

Yes. Staff working in the school or childcare sector are also required to complete active screening each day. These staff should be using the school screening tool as per the Ministry of Education’s instructions. Visit the Peterborough Public Health COVID-19 and Schools webpage for more information about safe school reopening.

13. Should I use the worker screening tool to screen any customers or patrons coming the workplace?

No. You do not have to use the worker/employee screening tool to screen patrons, but is considered a best practice by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. If you choose to screen patrons, use the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Screening Tool for Businesses and Organizations (Screening Patrons).

 

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