[Updated: April 6, 2020]

Understandably, we’ve been getting a lot of questions on COVID-19 lately. While there is a ton of information out there on topics like handwashing, personal protective equipment, and cleaning guidelines, there are specific questions for which finding a clear answer is more difficult. 

We created this post to be a running list of these types of questions. Be sure to check back for new and additional information. And if you have a question, contact us, and we’ll add it to the list. 

Recordkeeping and Reporting

Is a COVID-19 case a recordable illness?

A COVID-19 case is a recordable illness if it meets the following three criteria:

  1. 1. The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19 (see CDC information for more information);
  2. 2. The case is work-related, as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5; and
  3. 3. The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR 1904.7 (e.g. medical treatment beyond first-aid, days away from work, etc.).

Is a COVID-19 case a reportable injury to OSHA?

Not necessarily. Only COVID-19 employee work-related illnesses that result in an in-patient hospitalization or death are reportable to OSHA. Work-related in-patient COVID-19 hospitalizations must be reported to OSHA within 24 hours and work-related COVID-19 fatalities within 8 hours. 

Personal Protective Equipment

Can I make a face mask using vacuum cleaner bags?

As of April 3, 2020, the CDC has recommended wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g. grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. The CDC has published instructions on the use of cloth face coverings as well as a video on how you can make your own

Since these recommendations have been made, the CDC has only specified the use of cloth-based face coverings. At this time, we were unable to find an explicit endorsement by a health agency of the use of vacuum cleaner bags as face covering material so we are not making that recommendation.

What type of masks (and other PPE) are being recommended for healthcare and dental workers?

Check out our other post on What to Do About the Risk of a COVID-19 Infection at Work.

Practice Management

What does OSHA mandate for a medical/dental/veterinary practice with respect to COVID-19?

Check out our other post on What Employers Can Do Now.

Should I close my medical/dental/veterinary practice?

Right now, there have been no OSHA or CDC mandates to close healthcare or dental practices. However, certain states have issued directives that practices see only patients with critical issues or emergencies. This situation is of course evolving, and we’d recommend staying up to date on federal, state, and local mandates in this regard. Beyond this, it is a business decision by employers to determine whether to close your practice.