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Contagious Viruses Protocol

Harbor House, Inc Protocol for
Addressing Contagious Viruses

Harbor House, Inc. (HHI) diligently works to minimize the spread of contagious viruses, such as COVID-19. Guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the Arkansas Health Department, the Arkansas Department of Human Services, other regulatory bodies and the policies and procedures of HHI are adhered to.

When it comes to contagious viruses that are deemed to be at epidemic (a sudden increase in cases) stages by any of the above named organizations or agencies, Harbor House, Inc. may:

• Limit or temporarily cease visitations in residential treatment facilities by anyone other than staff and clients, as well as limit or temporarily cease outpatient groups
• Increase cleaning and disinfecting including using hospital grade disinfectants
• Provide safety products such as masks and gloves for staff and clients
• Follow guidelines put in place by the State of Arkansas such as assessment of clients, staff and visitors via mandated questionnaires utilized to identify symptoms of a contagious virus
• Restrict client, visitor and staff facility entrance and participation based on identified risk factors
• Follow re-instatement criteria outlined by the Arkansas Department of Health and Department of Human Services
• Remain consistent with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations

In the case of COVID-19 or a similar virus, if a client has been tested and is waiting results, they will reside in a private room. Their meals will be brought to them, as will medications. Services such as individual and group sessions will be provided via telehealth. Restroom usage will be separated from other clients and the client will be responsible for sanitizing the area after each use. Staff contact is limited and use of gloves and face masks is mandatory. If a client tests positive, they will be put on a medical pass and can return once cleared by a doctor.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides guidance on what employers can legally ask of employees during a pandemic – a worldwide spread of a new disease. The following addresses what is or is not permissible during a pandemic.

1) Employees may be sent home if they display influenza-type symptoms during a pandemic. Employers may ask employees if they are experiencing symptoms such as fever and chills or if they have a cough or sore throat. Employee confidentiality must be maintained.
2) Employee temperatures may be taken to determine if they have fever.
3) When an employee returns from travel during a pandemic, an employer does not have to wait until the employee develops influenza symptoms to ask questions about exposure during the trip.
4) During a pandemic, an employer cannot ask an employee who does not have symptoms to disclose whether they have a medical condition that the CDC says could make them especially vulnerable to influenza complications.
5) Employers can encourage employees to telework as an infection-control strategy during a pandemic.
6) During a pandemic, employers can require employees to adopt infection-control practices such as hand washing in the workplace.
7) Employers can require employees to wear personal protective equipment (gloves, facemasks, gowns) during a pandemic. The employer must be prepared to provide accommodations, such as non-latex gloves.
8) Employers cannot force employees to take influenza vaccines, but they can encourage it.
9) During a pandemic, employers can ask an employee why he or she has been absent from work, if the employer suspects it is for a medical reason.

Harbor House, Inc.

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