TOLEDO, Ohio — By now you've probably seen a social media post from a restaurant or store saying they have had an employee test positive for COVID-19. And while this is an encouraged practice by doctors, it's not a legal obligation.
"No, they do not have to tell, it could run them into some issues with HIPPA. We have somebody who's sick, they're not reporting to work. You can put two and two together and say okay Sally or Jim isn't at work, they must be the ones who have COVID-19," Toledo Lucas County Health Commissioner Dr. Eric Zgodzinski said.
Even though business does not have to publicly say if they've had an employee test positive for COVID-19, they do have to take proper steps moving forward for the safety of their employees and their customers. That involves proper contact tracing, and if that is not done the health department will step in.
"When we don't get compliance or if we have a hard time getting compliance or understanding what's going on in that establishment, we will announce that to the community so that if you were at such and such of a place please give us a call we've done that a couple of times here," Zgodzinski said.
If you have been somewhere where an employee or patron tested positive consider the following questions: when did you go, were you in close contact with someone who tested positive and who else did you go with. The health department defines exposure as being within 6 feet of someone for 15 minutes or longer.
"A lot of times you go up to the counter and you pay your bill or you're buying a tool at the hardware store, or you're talking to someone for 5 minutes, that's not an exposure," Zgodzinski said.
If all parties are wearing a face covering, the risk of there being an exposure is also low.