KENT COUNTY BACK TO WORK

Health Check Program

Register to report employee health screening results.

Questions about this program?

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About the Program

The Kent County Back to Work Health Check is a collaboration between the Kent County Health Department and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. It aims to: 

  • Help employers maintain a healthy work environment.
  • Outline best practices to promptly identify and isolate sick employees. 
  • Confidentially gather and track employee health data, countywide, on a daily basis.
  • Aggregate that data to guide community-level strategies to help stop the spread of COVID-19 as West Michigan gets back to work.

The Kent County Back to Work Health Check is patterned after a program that Meijer developed in partnership with Spectrum Health and piloted over a one-month period to maintain a healthy work environment for 35,000 employees at 225 Meijer locations. 

Special thanks to Meijer and Spectrum Health for their leadership and support in developing this program. Additional thanks to Kent County employers, the City of Grand Rapids and all area hospitals for their vital participation in helping to expand the program county-wide.

HOW IT WORKS

All Kent County employers are invited to participate in the Kent County Back to Work Health Check. To participate, an employer must:

  • Register to Participate
  • An email from noreply@qemailserver.com will be sent within 48 hours of registration to each business location with a personalized survey screening link for that location. To ensure the link is delivered, add this email address to your safe senders list.
  • Conduct daily health screenings of every employee on every shift (temperature check and 3-question survey).
  • Report results from daily screenings through a confidential online reporting tool administered by Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Information can be uploaded from any digital device and must be reported daily. 

The data collected does not include personal employee information. Program registration and participation in the county-wide daily health reporting are free of charge, but employers are responsible for costs of health monitoring and safety equipment, such as thermometers and Personal Protection Equipment.

Touchless forehead thermometers can be ordered through our online store for $68.00.

 We hope you will join us in this important initiative to help Kent County employers and employees get back to work.

BENEFITS TO EMPLOYERS, EMPLOYEES AND THE COMMUNITY

This program is designed to help maintain healthy work environments throughout Kent County. That’s good for employers because it keeps people on the job. That’s good for employees because it helps keep them and their loved ones safe.  

Beyond that, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine will collect and aggregate the daily employee health check data. The Kent County Health Department will monitor the aggregated data, check for possible areas of higher levels of community illness, and provide daily updates to Spectrum Health, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s and Metro Health in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

HEALTH CHECK SCREENING PROCESS

The health check screening process is fairly simple and, with the right planning and equipment, can be implemented on the day an employer reopens for business.

As with any new workplace protocol, good employee communication is key to your success.  It’s very important for employers to communicate with their employees in advance of implementing the Back to Work Health Check and other safety protocols.  Please see the Communicating With Your Team section for more information.

Best Practices for Health Screenings:

  • On-site employee health check screeners should wear masks and gloves.
  • Set up the screening area to promote social distancing, with screening tables placed 6 feet apart and 6-foot distance markers in place for employees waiting to be screened.
  • If available, use non-contact or disposable thermometers for daily temperature checks.
  • If possible, have one (or more) screener conduct temperature checks, and a second screener conduct the survey and enter the employee’s data online.
  • Have signage in place to ensure vendors and guests do not enter the workplace without taking the daily health check assessment.
  • Employers should send symptomatic employees or vendors home. 

Screening Employees

Employers screen workers daily at their place of work. Every employee, every shift, every day will need to complete the health screen before beginning their shift. At-home temperature checks are NOT permitted as part of this program.

Screening is conducted in a designated area at the employee entrance(s), before employees enter the building.

Employers designate employee health check coordinator(s) who conduct the daily screenings and upload information using the online reporting tool. Best practices recommend that health check coordinators wear masks and gloves.

Complete Verbal Health Screening Survey

  1. Symptom Screen: Does the employee have new symptoms including a dry cough unrelated to a chronic health condition, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, diarrhea, chills or sore throat?
  2. Contact Screen: Has the employee had close contact with a person that has been diagnosed with COVID-19 through a positive test result?
  3. Temperature Check: Follow the temperature check guidelines below.

  • Non-contact or disposable thermometers are recommended. If a non-contact thermometer is used, limit face-to-face exposure by approaching the incoming team member from the side and reaching the thermometer to their forehead.  
  • Keep interaction between the health check coordinator and employee as brief as possible.  
  • Return to six-feet social distancing immediately after. 
  • If the employee’s temperature is 100.4 degrees or higher, the employee should be sent home and asked to call a local testing hotline.
  • If the employee’s temperature is BELOW 100.4 degrees, they may continue to the survey portion of the screening.

Protocols for Safe Thermometer Use – If performing temperature checks on multiple individuals, make sure that health check coordinators use a clean pair of gloves for each employee and that the thermometer has been thoroughly cleaned with alcohol in between each check. If disposable or non-contact thermometers are used and coordinators did not have physical contact with an individual, they do not need to change gloves before the next check. If non-contact thermometers are used, clean and disinfect them according to manufacturer’s instructions and facility policies.

Survey questions comply with CDC guidelines.

Record Retention

  • All health screening information for each employee must be entered into the online data collection tool on a daily basis.
  • Employers should keep records of any worker who has been excluded from work due to failing a health screen.

As a business owner, am I required to send home all of my employees if one employee tests positive for COVID-19?
Currently, no federal or state agency is recommending employers send home all workers who have been exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. The primary responsibility in this instance is to take appropriate actions to protect other workers who might have come in contact with the COVID-19 positive employee; therefore, it is important for employers to develop comprehensive workplace policies and procedures to minimize the disease from spreading.

Return to Work Conditions

A worker who fails the health screen (a temperature of 100.4 degrees or above, or answers “yes” to any of the screening questions) should be sent home from work until the applicable condition below is met.

Failed Temperature & Symptom Screen10 days from the first onset of the patient’s symptoms and without the use of fever-reducing or symptom reducing medications
Failed Contact Screen14 days since close contact with diagnosed COVID-19 case and free of symptoms
  • If the worker failed multiple screens, the longest duration should be applied.

Helpful Resources

Employers are encouraged to take advantage of the following resources for recommendations and mandatory safety and health standards.

Frequently Asked Questions

For Business Owners

As a business owner, am I required to send home all of my employees if one employee tests positive for COVID-19?

The primary responsibility in this instance is to take appropriate actions to protect other workers who might have come in contact with the COVID-19 positive employee; therefore, it is important for employers to develop comprehensive workplace policies and procedures to minimize the disease from spreading.

Am I required to notify the Kent County Health Department if an employee tests positive for COVID- 19?

Under Michigan Executive Order 2020-91, when an employee is identified with a confirmed case of COVID-19, employers must notify the local public health department within 24 hours.

Once the Kent County Health Department is notified of a positive case of COVID-19, the Kent County Health Department will contact the patient to identify individuals with whom the patient has been in contact during the time they were symptomatic (including the 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms) to determine who is a high-risk contact. After an individual is identified as a high-risk contact, the Health Department will call them to notify them of their contact to a confirmed case of COVID-19 and provide instructions for the recommended 14-day quarantine period. A quarantine release letter/e-mail will be sent to the high-risk contact once they have completed the 14-day period and are free of symptoms.

COVID-19 Guidelines for Staff Exposures and Symptoms

Am I legally required to notify my entire workforce if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?

Each business should consult with their legal counsel or human resources on whether to disclose to other employees that a co-worker (or a visitor to the office) has tested positive for COVID-19, without disclosing the identity of the affected employee.

Employer Registration & Cost

How do I register?

Employers may register by clicking the “Get Started” button on the Health Screening program page of this website.

Is there a cost to participate in the Kent County Back to Work Health Check?

Program registration and participation in the county-wide daily health reporting are free of charge, but employers are responsible for costs of health monitoring and safety equipment, such as thermometers and personal protective equipment.

Touchless forehead thermometers can be ordered through our online store for $68.00.

Eligibility & Reporting Location

Who is eligible to participate in the health check program?

All employers in Kent County are invited and encouraged to participate in the program as soon as their operation opens for business. This includes small and large businesses, healthcare providers, nonprofit organizations, universities and other employers.

What types of employers can participate in this program?

Every type of employer in Kent County can participate in this health check program when their employees come back to work.
Employers should also follow the general guidelines and best practices outlined on the Kent County Back to Work website. Finally, detailed guidance can be found in the OSHA and CDC guidelines for a safe workplace.

Are you hoping universities will conduct these screenings on students as well as employees once on-site classes resume?

Ideally yes, but the first phase is employer/employee-focused.

We employ 100 people. Are we too small to participate?

No employer is too small or too big for this program.

What if an employee lives outside of Kent County? Should we include their data in the survey?

Yes. Eligibility and participation are based only on the employer’s zip code, not the employee’s place of residence.

Are employers based in Ottawa, Muskegon and other nearby counties eligible to participate? Are there plans to expand the screening program to surrounding counties?

MSU can collect data from employers in surrounding West Michigan counties; however, it will not be included in the aggregated data provided to the Kent County Health Department at this time. As the program develops, we will explore ways to collaborate with surrounding counties to guide community-level strategies to help stop the spread of COVID-19 throughout the region as West Michigan gets back to work.

If I am already doing some of these things at my workplace, do you need me to participate?

Yes. By joining with other local employers to ask the same questions and feed the data into a single system, you can help us track information to help keep West Michigan working environments safe and bring our economy back.

Screening Protocols

As a business owner, am I required to send home all of my employees if one employee tests positive for COVID-19?

The primary responsibility in this instance is to take appropriate actions to protect other workers who might have come in contact with the COVID-19 positive employee; therefore, it is important for employers to develop comprehensive workplace policies and procedures to minimize the disease from spreading.

May employees self-screen and report in?

To improve accuracy and accountability, this health check is designed as an on-site screening and reporting program. We are not accommodating employee self-checking and reporting at this time.

Of course, if an employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, they should stay home and report the symptoms to their healthcare provider. They should not come to work when they are sick simply for the health check.

Please see the Return to Work Conditions section for information about when it’s safe for an employee to return to work.

How do screeners distinguish an allergy-related cough from a cough related to COVID-19?

The symptom screening question makes that distinction. It asks:  Does the employee have new symptoms including a dry cough unrelated to a chronic health condition, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, diarrhea, chills or sore throat?

What protocols should be put in place when a team member does not pass the screening?

A worker who fails the screening (has a temperature of 100.4 or higher or answers yes to any of the screening questions) should be sent home and should not return to work until the Return to Work Conditions are met. If the employee is experiencing multiple symptoms, they should contact their healthcare provider.

In healthcare, we have already been screening our employees. Our employees know the questions and call to report on their symptoms rather than come in for screening. Should those employees be included in the data as well?

To improve accuracy and accountability, this program is designed as an on-site screening and reporting program.  Our goal is to have consistent standards for the data collection, so we are not accommodating employee self-checking and reporting at this time.

Of course, if an employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, they should stay home and follow standard operating procedures for your healthcare facility. 

Do we need to assign human resources staff persons to serve as the health screener(s) on each shift at each location, or can employees conduct the screen and report on their own?

Screeners do not have to be human resources staff members. Other staff members can serve as screeners as long as they are provided proper instructions and PPE. 

To improve accuracy and accountability, this health check is designed as an on-site screening and reporting program. We are not accommodating employee self-checking and reporting at this time. 

Of course, if an employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, they should stay home and report the symptoms to their healthcare provider. They should not come to work when they are sick simply for the health check.

Should every employee at every company get a COVID-19 test?

Absolutely not. If an employee has multiple symptoms of COVID-19, they should consult their healthcare provider to see if they should be tested for the virus.

When should an employee get tested?

If the employee is experiencing coronavirus symptoms (fever, cough or difficulty breathing), they may be eligible for testing. They should consult their primary care provider to determine if they should seek further care, including possible testing for COVID-19.

If the employee does not have a primary care physician, they may be eligible for testing by calling Mercy Health Saint Mary’s at 616-685-COVD (2683) or Spectrum Health at 833-559-0659. 

If symptoms become severe, the employee should seek medical care, but should call ahead to the provider or hospital so they can make arrangements to limit exposure to others during arrival.  Infor the 911 dispatcher in an emergency situation.

Kent County COVID-19 Testing Tocations

Data

What is the purpose of collecting and aggregating this data county-wide? How will it be used?

The Kent County Back to Work Health Screening program confidentially gathers and tracks employee health data, countywide, on a daily basis.

Michigan State University College of Human Medicine aggregates that data to guide the Kent County Health Department in community-level strategies to help stop the spread of COVID-19 as West Michigan gets back to work.

Will our employees’ personal information be shared with MSU or the health department?

The screening and reporting tool will not gather any data beyond the employee’s temperature, responses to the survey questions, and basic demographic information (age group, gender, race and ethnicity). 

If we have an existing data collection system for health screenings, can the data be uploaded to the MSU system?

Employers who have an existing data collection system for health screenings may work directly with Kathleen Oberst at MSU to coordinate reporting.

Will this data be used for systematic contact screening?

No. Contact tracing resources should be reserved for those who test positive for COVID-19. Employees who have multiple symptoms should be referred to their health care provider for potential testing.

How soon will the Kent County Health Department begin using this data?

Immediately. Meijer, Spectrum Health, the City of Grand Rapids and a number of test sites are already being set up and or feeding us data, so we have already started.

Equipment

Where can we purchase non-contact thermometers?

Touchless forehead thermometers can be ordered through our online store for $68.00.

How many thermometers will we need?

The number of thermometers you need will depend on the size of your workforce, frequency of shift changes, number of screeners you plan to use at the start of every shift and the type of thermometers you are using. 

Non-contact thermometers allow the greatest efficiency because they are immediately reusable without the need to sanitize between employees.

Where can we purchase masks, gloves or other necessary PPE in bulk?

The State of Michigan and The Right Place have provided resources to assist Michigan businesses on where to procure the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) needed to reopen their facilities. Learn More

Do we really need to maintain a 15-day supply of disinfecting and cleaning products and PPE?

Best practice suggests that, by maintaining a 15-day supply of essential cleaners, disinfectants and personal protective equipment when those products are available, employers will be best prepared to operate without interruption should market supplies of such products run low.

What can I do if I can’t find/purchase masks online?

Smaller employers can make cloth masks for their employees or provide employees with proper fabric and instructions to make their own masks before returning to work. Instructions on Making Your Own Mask can be found here, including a video tutorial on how to make a no-sew mask

The State of Michigan and The Right Place also have resources to assist Michigan businesses on where to procure the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) needed to reopen their facilities. Learn More

Do cloth masks have to be washed after every use?

According to the CDC, cloth face masks should be washed routinely in a washing machine, depending on frequency of use.

Questions about this program?