How to Respond to Positive Cases

In the span of four weeks beginning in mid-April, the rate of COVID-19 infections in rural U.S. counties climbed by 170 percent, according to the Daily Yonder, which analyzed data from the USDA.

While outbreaks at meat-packing plants accelerated that increase, rural communities are becoming more vulnerable on other fronts as well.

Member companies are contending with employees who test positive, and data suggests more companies will see rates rise.

Attorneys for Nilan Johnson Lewis recommend employers take these three steps in response to an ill employee:

1) Send the employee home.
2) Inform other employees of a positive test without identifying the employee who tested positive.
3) Deeply clean all areas in which the employee was present.

The attorneys also encourage employers to review the expansive resources provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), available at

Find information there related to:

  • Engineering controls.
  • Training/screening employees.
  • Employees returning to work.
  • Workers’ rights.
  • Assessment and control plan.

Sources: Daily Yonder, Nilan Johnson