All exposed staff members should be interviewed to determine how the exposure occurred. It should be made clear that the interview is not meant for disciplinary purposes, but in order to prevent future exposures.

It should be established if it was a work-related exposure or a community exposure.

If work-related exposure then further inquiry based on whether exposure was to a staff member or to a patient.

If exposure was to a COVID-19 or PUI staff member, then:

  • Did they follow strict hand and surface hygiene measures when interacting

  • Did they congregate together in the staff room?

  • Did they use the same kitchen equipment?

  • Did they have physical greeting contact

  • Did they share a work surface or desk?

  • Did they share a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet?

  • Did they share any equipment?

  • Did they share any stationery?

  • Did they travel together?

  • Did they attend to a patient together?

  • Did they wear a mask?

  • Did their colleague wear a mask?

  • Was there any shortage of water, soap or alcohol-based sanitiser?

If exposure was to a COVID-19 or PUI patient / resident in a long-term care facility:

  • Was hand and surface hygiene strictly followed during the shift?

  • Was PPE used appropriately according to provincial guidelines?

  • Was any PPE reused? If yes, what were the circumstances of reuse? (e.g. how many times reused, how stored between uses)

  • Was any PPE unavailable?

  • How did the staff member don and doff PPE?

  • Was hand hygiene performed before and after direct patient contact or contact with the patient environment?

  • Was there any shortage of water, soap or alcohol-based sanitiser?


  • These staff members may not return to work until 14 days after diagnosis if asymptomatic, 14 days after symptom onset in mild disease, or 14 days after clinical stability has been achieved in severe disease.

  • Staff members returning to work should continue to practice social distancing (especially from severely immunocompromised resident), hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene.

  • Staff members returning to work should continue self-monitoring for symptoms and be re-evaluated medically if these occur

Taken from: Practical Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Coronavirus Infection in Long Term Care Facilities

Guideline Compiled by Department of Health In Cooperation with Department of Social Development Western Cape

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