SBC Public Health emphasizes importance of worker protections and reporting workplace outbreaks of COVID-19

Health department states support to worksites experiencing outbreaks is a crucial part of slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the health of communities.

Information provided by County of San Benito.

The County of San Benito sent the following advisory to residents on Dec. 23:

As 26 deaths and 97 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported as of Dec. 23, San Benito County Public Health Services  emphasizes the importance of worker protections and reporting workplace outbreaks. Support to worksites experiencing outbreaks is a crucial part of slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the health of communities.

San Benito County is currently experiencing sharp increases in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths; mostly the results of household mixing, gatherings and holiday-related activities. Not surprisingly, these have led to increases in workplace COVID-19 infections and outbreaks.

People can spread COVID-19 two days before having symptoms, if they have symptoms at all.

Persons infected with COVID-19 can unknowingly expose coworkers during this two-day period. Therefore, it is critical for businesses to follow strict infection control protocols to decrease the risk of transmission in their workplaces.

On July 28, the State of California COVID-19 Employer Playbook was issued to provide guidance to employers with specific instructions on how to report outbreaks to local health departments. Workplace outbreak reporting assists local health jurisdictions in containing and managing disease spread within workplaces, identifies exposed individuals, and prevents further infections throughout the community.

Public Health relies on business operators, employers, and employees to report clusters of cases as soon as they are recognized. Public Health lends support to employers by providing expertise to assess, identify, and guide them through disease investigations, isolations, and quarantines. Public Health may also assist in monitoring outbreaks and providing additional guidance until no new cases have been identified for 14 days.

In non-healthcare or non-residential congregate setting workplaces, an outbreak is defined as three or more laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 among employees who live in different households within a two week period. In San Benito County, workplace outbreaks can be reported to the COVID-19 Hotline at (831) 636-4113 or by email at [email protected]. Workers and employers can anonymously report COVID-19 worksite outbreaks, state and health officer order violations and protocols to the hotline as well.

Workplace reporting can minimize additional COVID-19 cases, protect the workforce and the wider community, and keep our community members safe and healthy. It also saves lives.

For additional information on COVID-19, check the San Benito County Health and Human Services
Agency website and/or

BenitoLink Staff