Doctors weigh in on what employees should do if they test positive for COVID

Published: January 10, 2022 5:44 PM EST
Updated: January 10, 2022 6:20 PM EST

Not every workplace offers its employees “sick days.” And as omicron spreads, this may present an issue for workers who may be developing COVID-19 symptoms.

Plus, with testing lines so long and appointments hard to come by, it provides a dilemma for employees. Should they show up sick or take time off or work from home? Doctors weigh in on this work-from-home issue.

With employees from every sector calling out, it’s easy to see the quick transmissions associated with the omicron variant. However, not everyone has five sick days to spare, so they’d rather just come to work.

Dr. Rebekah Bernard works with Gulf Coast Primary Care. “When it comes down to the ethical dilemma, it’s health and life versus sometimes inconvenience,” said Dr. Bernard.

Doctors believe that the need or desire to continue working could backfire costing you, and your coworkers much more in the long run.

Dr. Mary Beth Saunders works at Lee Health. “Even though you think, ‘Oh, I’m going to get COVID, I’m going to do okay, and there’ll be no problem,’ it can really be a bad problem for someone else,” she said. “So just really have to think about those around you and how your decisions may affect them.”

Some companies are so short-staffed that they tell asymptomatic workers to come in even if they test positive. While doctors strongly advise against this, they understand employers’ pressure.

“It’s just the reality of the world. That we’re living in where we’re having to make these really difficult ethical decisions about who should work and who needs to stay home, and these are not easy times,” Dr. Bernard said.

If you do test positive for COVID-19, stay home. According to doctors, that is the best thing for you and everyone around you.

We asked WINK News viewers what they would do if they got sick right now. 61% said they could stay home, and 39% said they would have to work while sick.