Mayor Joy Issues Guidelines To Boost Contact Tracing In Big Workplaces

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The Quezon City government on Wednesday issued a memorandum for enhanced contact tracing and other health requirements directed at call centers and other workplaces with more than 100 employees.

The memo, signed by QC Mayor Joy Belmonte, states that workplaces with a large number of employees pose a special challenge in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

It requires big workplaces to strictly implement health measures “to contain the disease, minimize employee risk and economic effects, and speed up contact tracing.”

Emphasizing the importance of contact tracing, it requires workplaces, such as call centers, to conduct “meticulous” contact tracing activity in case of a confirmed Covid-19 case among their employees.

Once identified, those who had close contact with the confirmed Covid-19 case shall be required to complete a 14-day home quarantine, in case the person is asymptomatic.

Those who have symptoms for Covid-19 shall be required to undergo a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

“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,” the memo stated, adding that employees on home quarantine should be provided a daily allowance, if economically feasible.

Offices that have become aware of any close contacts with a confirmed Covid-19 case among its workforce are also required to “update the City Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (CESU) at regarding confirmed cases and close contacts among the workforce, and cooperate with any instructions of the CESU.”

In case of an outbreak, the management should require each employee to list down all usual close contacts, both inside and outside of their work, to speed up contact tracing.

The guideline defines “usual close contact” as any person who usually spends at least 15 minutes within one meter of face-to-face proximity each day, including people riding together in a company shuttle or other conveyance, employees who usually have meals or breaks together, and coworkers at nearby workstations.

As a general health measure, the management should implement in their workplaces a daily self-monitoring, disallow entry of sick employees directing them to seek medical advice, discourage mingling with other departments in the office to avoid cross-contamination, improve ventilation in the workplace, create work-from-home arrangements, require the use of face mask at all times, observe physical distancing, implement no-contact facilities, and conduct frequent sanitation and disinfection of workplace.

The memo warned that workplaces that violate these guidelines “may have their business permit suspended or revoked.”

The city may also impose other applicable penalties under relevant laws, ordinances, or regulations, it added. (PNA)

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