Worcester Board of Health Issues Two Emergency Orders

 by TWIW StaffSeptember 3, 2021

WORCESTER - The City of Worcester Medical Director Dr. Michael Hirsh issued two Emergency Orders on Friday, September 3, related to face coverings and reporting of COVID-19 positive cases. Both are effective Tuesday, September 7.

The first order requires all public, private, parochial, and charter school students, educators and support staff in all grades in the City of Worcester to wear a face covering in school buildings and on school transportation, with some exceptions.

The exceptions are:

  • The face covering affects the individual’s ability to breathe safely.
  • The individual has a mental health or other medical diagnosis and produces a written note from a physician that advises against the individual wearing a
    face covering.
  • The individual depends on supplemental oxygen to breathe.

Hirsh’s order also requires face coverings for any sports-related activity for student-athletes and coaches when indoors. The sports-related portion of the order is in alignment with guidance provided by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA).

The second order requires businesses and employers to report positive COVID-19 cases to the Worcester Board of Health. The order intends to enable contact tracing and the enforcement of quarantine requirements.

The Emergency Order issued by Governor Charlie Baker required all employers across Massachusetts to report positive cases. When Baker lifted the Emergency Order, the requirement ended. The Worcester Board of Health is reinstating the same requirement within the City.

Hirsh’s second order, titled “Emergency Regulation Requiring Employers to Report Positive COVID-19 Cases in the Workplace in the City of Worcester,” mandates that:

  • Employers shall encourage workers who test positive for COVID-19 to disclose and inform the employer for purposes of cleaning/disinfecting and contact tracing.
  • When an employer is notified of any positive case at the workplace, the employer must immediately notify the Board of Health.
  • Employers are required to assist the Board of Health with contact tracing efforts, including advising likely contacts to isolate and self-quarantine.
  • Employers will require testing of other workers at the request of the Board of Health.
  • Employers shall notify workers that they may not work if they test positive for COVID-19 (they should be isolated at home) or are found to be a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (they should be quarantined at home).
  • Employers having businesses that operate at various shifts shall designate a Person in Charge for each shift to oversee implementation of the requirements of this regulation.

Both orders remain in effect until rescinded by the Worcester Board of Health.

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