When a Larimer County resident tests positive, the health department will contact them to do a public health investigation, which identifies any close contacts they have had while infectious, including work-related contacts. Businesses must also report cases of COVID-19 in their staff to the health department. The health department works to identify potential outbreaks early and ensure that steps to prevent or reduce the spread of COVID-19 are taken as quickly as possible.

To report a case of COVID-19 in your business, please submit this form.

Guidance for Employers

COVID-19 Cases and Exposures in Employees

When an employer has a single employee who does or may have COVID-19, please follow these steps:

  1. Send any sick employees home immediately. Do not allow the ill employee to be in the workplace.
  2. Please use this form to report an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 to the health department. You are required to report ill employees to the health department.
    • Encourage employees with symptoms similar to those for COVID-19 to follow-up with a healthcare provider and get tested for COVID-19 using a viral test. 
    • Require employees confirmed to have COVID-19 to stay at home until they have finished isolation. If they live in Larimer County, they should receive an isolation letter from us that includes a date they may leave isolation.
      • Someone can leave isolation 10 days after their symptoms first started, if their symptoms have improved, and they have been 24 hours fever-free without using fever-reducing medicines (such as Ibuprofen). 
      • If they do not have symptoms, they must isolate for 10 days from the date of their test. If they develop symptoms during isolation, the isolation time may need to be extended.  
      • Someone who is confirmed to have COVID-19 does not need to be retested to leave isolation and return to work.
  3. You may not need to shut down the workplace. The health department will help with decisions about closing.
  4. Inform fellow employees that they may have been exposed while maintaining the sick employee's confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The health department can help with this.
  5. Do not immediately send employees who may have been exposed or employees who do not have any symptoms to be tested. Decisions about testing for these individuals and the interpretation of those test results should be done in conjunction with the health department.
  6. Clean and disinfect the facility according to CDC or CDPHE cleaning guidance for COVID-19. Closing to clean and disinfect is not required.

When an employer has multiple employees with confirmed or probable COVID-19:

  1. Follow the same steps listed previously for a single case.
  2. Please begin completing the Colorado Outbreak Report Form and Business Event Line List

When an employee(s) has been exposed to someone who does or may have COVID-19 (at work or elsewhere):

  1. Determine who has potentially been exposed to the employee(s) with COVID-19.
    • Close contact or exposure is defined as being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes with a person who has COVID-19 starting 48 hours before their symptoms started or, if the person does not have symptoms, 48 hours before their test was collected until their last day of isolation.
    • Close contact isn't necessarily 15 consecutive minutes. Someone who was close to a sick person multiple times during a work shift may have been exposed and need to be quarantined.
    • A list of close contacts should be created. Please use this template for close contacts:  Quarantine List Template
  2. Required employees with recent exposure to someone with confirmed COVID-19 to quarantine at home for 14 days starting from the last date they were in close contact with that person and monitor themselves for symptoms. A 14-day quarantine is recommended by CDC, CDPHE, and LCDHE and carries the least risk of possibly spreading the virus to others. Those who live or work in congregate settings (assisted living, corrections, PEH shelters, etc.) or have regular contact with high-risk individuals must adhere to the full 14-day quarantine.
    • The CDC accepts two alternative options for quarantine for those who do not work in congregate settings or who don't have regular contact with high-risk individuals:

      • 10-day option: if it's been 10 days since a person was exposed and they do not have symptoms, they can return to normal activities on day 11 without a test.

      • 7-day option: if no symptoms, a person may quarantine for 7 days and return to normal activities on day 8 if a negative test was collected within the previous 48 hours (on day 6 or later).

      • For the shorter quarantine options, the person must continue to monitor for symptoms and take precautions like mask-wearing for the full 14 days after being exposed. There is still a percentage of people who will go on to spread COVID-19 to others.

  3. If employees who were exposed develop symptoms, they should get tested and begin isolation. 
    • The isolation period is 10 days from the date symptoms started, until symptoms are improving, and until they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication (like Ibuprofen).

COVID-19 Outbreaks

A public health investigation determines if an outbreak is occurring. A confirmed COVID-19 outbreak is defined as five or more cases in a facility or group (does not include groups that make up a household) that occurred within a 14-day period. There does not have to be extensive spread occurring to meet the definition of an outbreak. 

For the latest data on local outbreaks, please visit our COVID-19 data dashboard.

Testing Considerations

Be aware of the limitations of COVID-19 testing in making workplace decisions. Testing by itself cannot “clear” employees to work.

There are two main types of COVID-19 tests:

  • Viral tests (RT-PCR/nucleic acid or antigen detection) are the only way to confirm if someone currently has the virus that causes COVID-19. 
  • Antibody tests (also called serological tests) check someone's blood for COVID-19 antibodies, which may determine if someone had COVID-19 in the past. Antibody tests do not test for current COVID-19 infection and do not prove that someone is immune to COVID-19. Do not use antibody tests to prove immunity, clear employees to work, or make decisions about grouping people in congregate settings, such as schools, dormitories, or correctional facilities.

The ideal time to be tested after being exposed to someone who has COVID-19 is 6-10 days later. A positive test result would let the person know if they have become sick without knowing it yet. Someone who was exposed to COVID can become ill up to 14 days later.

Please click here for more information on local testing options.