Workplaces & Employers Contact Tracing

COVID-19

Last updated July 20, 2021

Role of AHS| Role of Employee| Role of Employer| Workplace Outbreak| Additional Info| Financial Supports

All workplaces have different risks when it comes to the spread and impacts of COVID-19. The level of risk depends on many things, such as: how close people are to each other, number of employees, layout of work space, type of work activities, and vulnerability of others in the workplace.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is important to work together to keep workplaces, communities, and clients safe. Everyone has an important role to play when an employee has worked while infectious with COVID-19.

If an employee did NOT work while infectious, no workplace follow-up is required.

Role of AHS

Contact tracers from Alberta Health Services (AHS) complete a case investigation for all people diagnosed with COVID-19. AHS will use their expertise to determine if an employee was at work while they could have spread COVID-19 to others. AHS will inform all employers if their employee has potentially exposed others in the workplace.

If multiple cases of COVID-19 are identified at a workplace, the AHS COVID-19 Outbreak Team will connect directly with the employer to discuss additional measures.

Role of Employee Who Tests Positive for COVID-19

Employees have a very important role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 at work. Employees who have attended work while they were infectious are required to:

  • Complete a case investigation interview with AHS.
  • Follow all legal requirements for isolation and stay home from work until their isolation period is over.
  • Tell their employer about their positive COVID-19 test results and the dates they worked while infectious.
  • Work with their employer to determine anyone who might be considered a close contact.

Role of Employer

Employers and workplace operators have an important role in preventing the spread of COVID-19. They are required to carefully and continually consider how they can modify their operations and implement practices to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 infection among employees and customers.

Employers who have been notified by AHS, or the employee themselves, of a staff member that was at work while infectious with COVID-19, are required to comply with additional public health measures. It is the employer’s responsibility to:

Ensure the employee does not attend the workplace until their legal isolation period is over. People with COVID-19 are required to isolate for at least 10 days. This may be longer if they continue to experience symptoms. They will be advised by AHS of the date their isolation period will end.

  • After their isolation period is over, they can return to work
  • A negative test result is not required for return to work.
  • AHS Public Health does not provide clearance letters for return to work for cases or close contacts.

Keep health information about employees confidential unless given permission by the employee to share. Phone conversations should happen in a private area. When communicating with close contacts, consider the privacy settings you use when sending email or texts. If emailing multiple people about being a close contact, send single emails; avoid cc’ing people.

Immediately identify and create a list of close contacts in the workplace.

  • Close contacts may include fellow employees, or customers, if applicable.
  • Use shift schedules, work logs, daily duty reports, etc. to help you determine close contacts
  • Use the Who Needs to Quarantine Decision Tool to identify close contacts.
    • While masks and face coverings used in the community reduce the general risk of transmission of COVID-19, they are not sufficient to prevent transmission from an infectious individual, to someone who is assessed to be a close contact. Mask quality, fit and appropriate use may vary in the general public and are not considered in the assessment of close contacts. See Mask Requirements for more information.
  • Close contacts are at risk for developing COVID-19 and spreading it to others in the workplace.
Who Needs to Quarantine Decision Tool

Determine the dates that each workplace close contact will be required to quarantine. The date for quarantine is calculated based on the last date that the close contact was exposed to the person with COVID-19.

The following example explains how to determine quarantine date:

An infectious employee worked with a number of close contacts on March 6, 7 and 8.

The close contacts would be required to quarantine as soon as you notify them, and remain in quarantine until 14 days after their last exposure to the infectious employee.

The last date of exposure for close contacts is March 8. The first full day of the required 14-day quarantine period starts on March 9, and continues for 14 full days. The close contacts would complete their last full day of quarantine on the 14th day, and can resume regular activities on March 23, as long as they have not tested positive for COVID-19 and have no symptoms.

Individuals who have been immunized may have different quarantine requirements, refer to ahs.ca/quarantineaftervaccine for more information.

Notify all workplace close contacts, regardless of immunization status, that they have been exposed to a case of COVID-19, and the date they may return to regular activities. They MUST stay home and quarantine away from others, even if they have a negative test. This is required by law.

Individuals who have been immunized may have different testing and quarantine requirements, refer to ahs.ca/quarantineaftervaccine for more information. Not all employee close contacts will require a mandatory 14 day quarantine period, if they have been fully or partially immunized and are asymptomatic.

Individuals who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days before their exposure as a new close contact, do not have to quarantine as long as they have since recovered and completed their mandatory isolation, AND they currently have no symptoms.

Employees and employers will need to work together to ensure each employee close contact's quarantine period is appropriate.

Remember to maintain the confidentiality of the person with COVID-19 and not disclose their identity to others. You can call, text or email the close contacts to tell them this important information. Here’s a sample you can use:


Close Contact Notification Template

Hi, this is ___ (your name), from ___ (name of workplace or business). Alberta Health Services requires that I notify you that you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

To respect the privacy of the person who has COVID-19, I am not allowed to tell you their name. You were exposed to the infectious person on ___ (date). You will need to quarantine immediately for 14 days from the date you were last in close contact. You will be required to quarantine until ___ (date). This is mandatory by law. Individuals who have been immunized may have different testing and quarantine requirements, see ahs.ca/quarantineaftervaccine for more information.

It’s very important that you MUST immediately quarantine, and go to ahs.ca/testing, to book a test.

For more information about COVID-19 go to ahs.ca/covid. If you have questions about your health, you can call your health care provider or Health Link at 811.

Require that all workplace close contact employees stay away from the workplace (even if they have a negative test) until their legal quarantine period is over. Public Health does not provide clearance letters for return to work. Proof of a negative test result is not required for return to work.

Workplace Outbreak

If multiple cases of COVID-19 are identified at a workplace, the AHS COVID-19 Outbreak Team will connect directly with the employer to discuss additional measures.

To help answer some questions you may have about outbreaks and how this will impact your workplace, refer to COVID-19 Workplace Outbreak FAQ.

Additional Information, Resources & Supports for Employers

Workplaces may also be contacted by AHS Environmental Public Health and/or Alberta Occupational Health and Safety for further support to provide an opportunity to review their current measures. These calls or visits are intended to be supportive in maintaining the health and safety of their employees and customers and in helping to support your continued operation. They are not meant to be punitive.

Financial Supports