On March 3, 2023, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) issued a state public health officer order (“Order”) regarding COVID-19. The Order, which took effect yesterday on March 13, 2023, includes important information for employers doing business in California. This article will explain the highlights of the new Order.
The Order updates isolation recommendations, aligning them with the CDC’s recommendations for Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19. According to the Order, individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 “should continue to isolate for 5 days, but may leave isolation after 5 days, if they are feeling well, symptoms are improving and are fever-free for 24 hours.”
The definition of “infectious period” has been updated to the following:
- “For symptomatic confirmed cases, 2 days before the confirmed case had any symptoms (symptom onset date is Day 0) through Days 5–10 after symptoms first appeared AND 24 hours have passed with no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and symptoms have improved, OR
- For asymptomatic confirmed cases, 2 days before the positive specimen collection date (collection date is Day 0) through Day 5 after the positive specimen collection date for their first positive COVID-19 test.”
The Order defines “confirmed case” as “[a] person who has received a positive result of the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus as confirmed by a COVID-19 viral test or clinical diagnosis”.
The Order defines “close contact” to mean the following:
- “In indoor spaces, 400,000 or fewer cubic feet per floor (such as home, clinic waiting room, airplane etc.), sharing the same indoor airspace for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three separate 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes) during a confirmed case’s infectious period.”
- “In large indoor spaces greater than 400,000 cubic feet per floor (such as open-floor-plan offices, warehouses, large retail stores, manufacturing, or food processing facilities), being within 6 feet of the confirmed case for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period during the confirmed case’s infectious period.”
Pursuant to the Order, the current requirements in the Guidance for the Use of Face Masks will remain in place through April 2, 2023. From April 3, 2023, these requirements will become recommendations. Currently, the masking requirements are based on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Community Levels (“CCLs”) framework, with each county deciding which prevention behaviors to use and when, based on an individual’s “own risk for severe illness and that of members of their household, their risk tolerance, and setting-specific factors.”
Last month, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s COVID-19 prevention non-emergency regulations (“Regulations”) took effect and will remain in effect until February 3, 2025. Pursuant to the Regulations, employers must provide face coverings and ensure they are worn when required by orders from the CDPH. Thus, under the new CDPH Order, face coverings are currently required by CDPH pursuant to the CCLs. However, from April 3, 2023, these will become recommendations. For further guidance on face coverings in the Regulations, employers may review the Cal/OSHA’s answers to FAQs.
When addressing COVID-19 in the workplace, employers may refer to the CDPH’s Isolation and Quarantine Guidance as provided in the new Order until an employee is no longer an infection risk and to determine when an employee may return to work.
MNK Law will continue to monitor developments with respect to California’s public health orders and COVID-19 prevention non-emergency regulations. For more information on the CDPH’s new Order, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between MNK Law and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material.