Maureen Leeds, MN Dept. of Health, Local 902
Working with healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19
I'm an interview room lead on the MN Dept. Of Health (MDH) team contacting healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19 cases, assessing their exposure risk level, and providing them with recommendations and information about their employment rights.
We have colleagues from across the agency stepping up and helping us talk with people who may have been affected. Restaurant inspectors and other public health sanitarians have really gotten good at coaxing stories out of people about what happened in the days leading up to the outbreak. It’s been amazing to see people pivot from their normal duties and rise to the occasion with this work.
We also provide legal protections to people staying out of work due to MDH recommendations. The agency recommends 14 days from your last exposure to a person who has tested positive. Most healthcare workers want to go back to work right away. Workers cannot be threatened or retaliated against for staying home during quarantine if they had a high-risk exposure.
Although we try to be sensitive, it is also hard to call a healthcare worker who is dealing with someone who is very ill or has died. It’s also been difficult to stop thinking about ways to improve the process for the team.