COVID-19 can spread quickly in crowded settings, especially congregate living settings and indoor settings without social distancing. Throughout the pandemic, substantial outbreaks have occurred in migrant housing camps and food and beverage manufacturing or processing facilities.
These outbreaks create severe risks for workers but also create a significant risk of COVID-19 spread in the community.
The Michigan Departments of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) created a list of questions and answers to respond to potential questions about the order that may arise during implementation MDHHS also established detailed guidance for employers on implementation of a testing plan.
MDHHS requires some agricultural employers with over 20 employees on-site at a time to provide COVID-19 testing as follows:
These agricultural employers are:
There are several options to complete testing, including creating a testing program managed by the employer, requesting state assistance, and utilizing testing resources in the general community. MDHHS created a testing plan template that was due by August 10, 2020.
MDHHS has issued guidance along with the Public Health Order on how employers can complete required testing.
MDHHS issued guidance along with the Public Health Order on how employers can complete required testing, including financial implications and options for assistance like grants, insurance coverage, or requesting state assistance.
The State of Michigan will provide testing support as capacity allows. The state retains sole discretion to determine whether to fulfill requests for assistance. The state may alternatively direct requestors to testing resources available through medical providers and in the community.
Employers and housing operators are responsible in the first instance for financial costs resulting from testing, but they may seek reimbursement from health insurance where applicable and may seek state assistance to conduct testing.
Producers and processors are also eligible to apply for grants to cover the costs (i.e. on-site testing, with full plant or individual testing at certified sites, including costs for staffing/medical personnel to administer tests and personal protection equipment for testing sites) associated with COVID-19 testing. Additional information and application instructions are available on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation website.
Many agricultural workers, including H-2A workers and undocumented individuals, may be eligible for Emergency Services Only (ESO) Medicaid, which covers the costs of COVID-19 testing. Another option for covering testing costs is assisting workers in applying for this insurance coverage and billing testing for eligible employees to insurance.
Employers and housing operators may not pass costs along to employees, including costs uncovered by health insurance, whether in the form of direct charges or indirect charges, fees, compensation changes, or other financial means.
MDHHS created communication resources for employers to use to inform employees about upcoming testing and precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.