[Video] Three Tips to Communicate a COVID-19 Positive Case

August 12, 2020



I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of talking and hearing about COVID-19. COVID, COVID, COVID. Clearly this pandemic has created obstacles and challenges that, for so many, if not everyone, could not have been foreseen. But by the same token, there are certain tenets of good communication that really haven’t changed despite the pandemic and what we’re facing, and that is to communicate early and often and to be transparent. And, of course, those are truly tested when, God forbid, your organization, your school, or your business actually has someone within it that tests positive. So here are three tips from Sunwest today that we’d like to provide. First, it’s critical, of course, to protect the privacy of the individual that tests positive but it’s even just as critical that you communicate quickly to all your most important stakeholders, whether that’s parents or whether that’s your board, whether that’s your employees. It’s critical that they hear from you as the leader before they hear it from someone else. Which leads me also to the point that you’ve got to monitor social media very carefully to get any misinformation corrected immediately. Second, if the situation has caused you to have to close a facility, or your office, or a building, you want to communicate that very, very quickly and let everyone know what your thinking is, the process and procedures, what your plan is in order to get things back online. And remember, that may not just be communicating one time. You may have to communicate again and again on what your plans and procedures are to get back open and what that timeline looks like. And third, if your event ends up becoming newsworthy, it’s really important to be responsive. Be sure to share with the news media the same messages that you’ve shared with your most important stakeholders. Explain how you’re handling the situation and what action it is that you’re taking. In a nutshell, you’ve got to be transparent. You need to act quickly. If you don’t know, it’s better to just say, “I don’t know” and then follow up later because the same good rules of communication – early and often, transparency, authenticity – apply now more than ever. And that’s Two Minutes of Advice today from Sunwest.