We got lucky: an employee, who was asymptomatic at work but tripped one of the screening factors requiring him to stay home, was tested and found NEGATIVE for COVID-19.
Our employee is coming back to work, but I have been wondering...what if the test came back POSITIVE? If we have to quarantine all our employees, we'd be shut down completely!
First: that is good news about your employee.
Second: a gold star to your library for having a screening system that works, and for following the requirement to restrict an employee who trips a screening factor from on-site work while waiting for test results.
Third: Let's talk about your alternate scenario (the one where you don't get such good news).
As of August 17, 2020, any library that is up and running should have a Safety Plan as required by both the guidance for "Office-based Work", and "Retail Business Activities" (we'll call this the "Guidance").
The Guidance includes the requirement to fill out a New York Forward Business Affirmation Form, which attests to having a Safety Plan. It also answers the member’s question about what to do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
Here is what the Guidance (as of 8/18/2020) requires:
An individual who screens positive for COVID-19 symptoms must not be allowed to enter the office and must be sent home with instructions to contact their healthcare provider for assessment and testing.
Responsible Parties should remotely provide such individuals with information on healthcare and testing resources.
Responsible Parties must immediately notify the state and local health department about the case if test results are positive for COVID-19.
Responsible Parties should refer to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Public and Private Employees Returning to Work Following COVID-19 Infection or Exposure” regarding protocols and policies for employees seeking to return to work after a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or after the employee had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19.
So, the answer to the member's question: "What if the test came back positive?" is: "[I]immediately notify the state and local health department."
After that, the direction from the local health department may vary, but the Guidance requires:
If an employee has had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time AND is experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms, the employee may return to work upon completing at least 10 days of isolation from the onset of symptoms.
If an employee has had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time AND is not experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms, the employee may return to work upon completing 14 days of self-quarantine.
And after that, things can really vary. But in a scenario where every employee of the library came within six feet of their (now confirmed as) infected co-worker, the library really could be looking at up to two weeks of employees in self-quarantine...along with any other response required by the local health department.
This is not a feel-good scenario. But the good news is, the same Guidance that requires a library to require employees to isolate also reduces the likelihood of such a remedy being needed. This is because the Guidance also requires a host of preventative practices to limit exposure in the first place, including:
If a library maps these things out for employees, and consistently enforces them, there will be less need for the "isolation/quarantine" sections. While right now, there is no magic bullet, the simple elements of your library's Safety Plan can reduce the need for quarantine.
And that's it; thanks for a great question. I hope this answer never has to come in handy for your library. But just in case it does: here’s a quick checklist for the steps listed in this response :
"CHECKLIST FOR RESPONDING TO NOTICE OF COVID-19 EXPOSURE AT THE LIBRARY; TO BE USED IN CONJUCTION WITH UPDATED SAFETY PLAN"
Here is a template notice to the board, designed to reflect taking the necessary steps, while also protecting employee privacy:
On ____________, the library received notification of an [individual/employee] testing positive for COVID-19. As required by current guidance from the State, we notified the Health Department immediately. At this time, the direction from the local health department is _____________________________________[this may be extensive].
We have determined that # employees must self-isolate until they DATE.
We have determined that # employees must self-quarantine until DATE.
We have confirmed with the health department that as a result of this notice and response, and consultation with the [Executive Committee of the board/full board/board officer/other] we will [close/reduce operations/operate under the status quo], unless the board determines otherwise.
Our Safety Plan has been followed and we have retained the documentation showing such compliance.
 Any library that does not consider itself "operated by a local government or political subdivision", that is, since the New York Forward guidance specifically states that the various Executive Orders' business restrictions do not apply to such libraries.
 Found at this link as of 8/17/2020: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/06/doh_covid19_publicprivateemployeereturntowork_053120.pdf
 According to the Guidance, "close contact" is "to be someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 10 minutes starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the person was isolated."
 This should NOT be happening!
 Remember, local governments and political subdivisions may decide not to follow these precise requirements. That said, if it determines it is operated by a local government or political subdivision, a library must then follow the safety plan set by that local government or political subdivision.
 Some of this isn't required by applicable laws or Guidance, but is in there to position a library to easily show it followed applicable laws and Guidance.
 While keeping confidentiality at top of mind, libraries need to think carefully about a voluntary system allowing users to log visits for purposes of contact tracing. A voluntary list of names, dates and times, maintained with all due care for privacy, can position a library to participate in a local health department's contact tracing initiative. This can in turn help a community reduce its rate of transmission.