Guidance Regarding Positive Tests for COVID-19
As more people gain access to tests for COVID-19, clergy may have questions about who to inform if you, a member of your household or a parishioner receives a positive test result (i.e., a test result indicating infection).
The facility where the test is done will report positive results to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The person whose test result has come back positive, or a family member or friend assisting them, should seek guidance from their local health department about who to inform, and how.
Please note that the name(s) of any person(s) testing positive should not be made public to preserve the confidentiality of their medical information. Again, local health authorities will offer guidance about who must be informed and how.
Any clergyperson who tests positive for COVID-19, has a positive test result in their household, and/or learns of a parishioner testing positive, should likewise seek guidance from their local health department and also immediately contact the Rt. Rev. Sam Rodman or the Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple. The latter step will not only keep our bishops informed, but will also better enable them to offer you support through this challenging time. You can reach our bishops through their executive assistants: Elizabeth Dawkins (919-600-5301) for Bishop Sam Rodman, or Patricia Hamilton (919-600-5304) for Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple. Outside regular business hours, you can contact the staff member on call (919-600-2009) or any canon. You may simply tell the staff member you reach that you need to speak to a bishop about a COVID-19 diagnosis in your church.
WORKPLACE SAFETY AND COVID-19
As of late March 2020, there is no specific Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard covering COVID-19. The General Duty Clause, however, applies: It requires employers to furnish workers “employment and a place of employment, which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”
Please note: while workers considered “ministers” are not covered by OSHA, other employees (e.g. administrative staff, maintenance workers) may be covered depending, for example, on the size of your workforce.
Contact OSHA directly with questions about your church or ministry’s specific situation, at (800) 321-6742.
CHURCH MEDICAL TRUST HEALTH BENEFITS AND COVID-19
We commend to you this update from CPG (late March 2020):
“Healthcare Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Pursuant to The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which became law on March 18, 2020, The Episcopal Church Medical Trust (the Medical Trust) will waive all co-pays, deductibles, and coinsurance for its members for healthcare services relating to the evaluation and testing for COVID-19.1 In addition, the Medical Trust will waive all co-pays, deductibles, and in-network coinsurance for its active members for healthcare services relating to the treatment of COVID-19. We are in the process of updating the Summary of Benefits and Coverage, which is available at cpg.org.
Any cleric, lay employee, or other member with questions about benefits and coverage under healthcare plans offered through the Medical Trust should visit his or her provider’s website or call the toll-free number on the back of the health insurance card.
For retirees enrolled in a Medicare Supplement plan with United Healthcare, Medicare has announced that there will be no out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 lab tests. For more information regarding Medicare benefits and additional information, please visit https://www.medicare.gov/medicare-coronavirus.”