February 4, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 35

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California Department of Public Health Issues Updated COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance

On December 30, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued its updated “Guidance for Local Health Jurisdictions on Isolation and Quarantine of the General Public.” With the updated guidance, the CDPH’s position appears to be consistent with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recently revised recommended five-day isolation and quarantine period for the general population.

The CDPH guidance advises that individuals who test positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status:

  • quarantine for at least 5 days;

  • end isolation, if they choose to do so, after 5 days if they do not have symptoms or their symptoms are resolving and a diagnostic specimen collected on day 5 or later results in a negative test;

  • end isolation after 5 days if the individual is unable to test or chooses not to test and he or she is not experiencing symptoms or his or her symptoms are resolving;

  • continue to quarantine until fever resolves;

  • continue to quarantine until symptoms are resolving or until after day 10 if symptoms, other than fever, are not resolving; and

  • wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings(see below for additional information on masking guidelines).

According to the new guidance, individuals who are not vaccinated and individuals who are vaccinated but have not yet received their booster shots and who are exposed to someone with COVID-19 should:

  • remain off work for at least 5 days after contact with a person who has COVID-19;

  • test on day 5;

  • end quarantine, if they choose to do so, after day 5 if they don’t have symptoms and a diagnostic specimen collected on day 5 or later results in a negative test;

  • end quarantine, if they choose, after day 10 if they are unable to test or choose not to test and symptoms are not present;

  • wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings;

  • follow the above isolation recommendations if they test positive; and

  • test and quarantine if symptoms develop.

The CDPH advises that individuals who already have received their booster shots should:

  • test on day 5;

  • wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days, especially in indoor settings;

  • follow the above isolation recommendations if they test positive; and

  • test and quarantine if symptoms develop.

Although the CDPH’s revisions appear to shorten the time for individuals to quarantine and isolate, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) emergency temporary standards (ETS) still mandates a quarantine period of 10 days for employees who test positive and/or who have had close contact with a COVD-19 positive individual during the infectious period. Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-84-20, issued on December 14, 2020, may resolve the conflict between the revised CDPH guidance and the Cal/OSHA ETS. The executive order suspends the ETS exclusion period and periods for which a worker must not return to work to the extent they exceed “[a]ny applicable quarantine or isolation period recommended by the CDPH … or [a]ny applicable quarantine or isolation period recommended or ordered by a local health officer who has jurisdiction over the workplace.” However, neither Cal/OSHA, the CDPH, nor the governor has issued a clarifying statement resolving the differences between the CDPH quarantine and isolation periods and the Cal/OSHA exclusion and return-to-work periods.

The CDPH guidance update does not affect the most recent revisions to the Cal/OSHA ETS, effective January 14, 2022. The revised ETS includes changes to testing, worker housing, and transportation, as well as other minor adjustments. Employers may be interested in template forms and documents to assist with Cal/OSHA ETS compliance.

© 2023, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 4
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About this Author

Charles Thompson, Ogletree Deakins Law Firm, Employment Law Attorney
Shareholder

Charles L. Thompson IV counsels and defends employers in wrongful termination, discrimination, and other employment-related matters.  These areas include trade secrets and unfair competition, California and federal leaves of absence, ADA compliance, and wage and hour compliance.

Charles also represents employers in traditional labor law matters. He advises and represents employers in collective bargaining. He also represents employers in matters before the National Labor Relations Board, including in unfair labor practice and representation...

415-536-3430
Karen Tynan, employment lawyer, Ogletree Deakins
Of Counsel

Karen Tynan is an of counsel attorney in the Sacramento office of Ogletree Deakins. Karen is originally from the state of Georgia, and after graduating with honors from the United States Merchant Marine Academy, she worked for Chevron Shipping Company for ten years – sailing as a ship's officer on oil tankers rising to the rank of Chief Officer with her Unlimited Master’s License as well as San Francisco Bay pilotage endorsement.  Karen was the highest ranking woman in the Chevron fleet when she left her seafaring life.  This maritime and petroleum experience is unique among employment...

918 840 3150
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