Cal/OSHA return-to-work requirements for confirmed COVID-19 cases and CDPH recommendations for symptomatic individuals. Employer must demonstrate requirements were met. Regardless of vaccination status or previous infection, employee may return to work after:
If symptoms, other than fever, are not improving, isolate until symptoms improve or until after Day 10.
Employee shall wear a mask at all times if they return to work before a full 10 days have passed since the first positive COVID-19 test.
Symptomatic employee should test as soon as possible to determine infection status. If infected within the previous 31-90 days, use of an antigen test is recommended. If first test is negative, test again 1-2 days after first test. Repeat testing every 1-2 days if symptoms persist or until symptoms improve or test is positive.
NOTE: More stringent local health department orders supersede the Cal/OSHA and CDPH requirements.
*CDPH recommends use of an antigen test. Employer must collect evidence of testing, for example, a dated photo of the test and employee.
Close contact – See below for the definition which was changed by CDPH on November 9, 2022.
Everyone, regardless of vaccination status:
Cal/OSHA requires employers to review current CDPH guidance for persons who had close contacts, including any guidance regarding quarantine or other measures to reduce transmission. Employers must develop, implement and maintain effective policies to prevent transmission of COVID-19 by persons who had close contact.
COVID-19 case – A person who has a positive COVID-19 test, has a positive COVID-19 diagnosis from a licensed healthcare provider or is subject to a COVID-19-related order to isolate issued by a local or state health official.
Close Contact –
Contact tracing – Identifying patients and employees in the office in close contact with the infected or symptomatic patient or employee.
COVID-19 symptoms - Means a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea, unless a licensed health care professional determines the person's symptoms were caused by a known condition other than COVID-19.
COVID-19 test – This means a viral test for SARS-CoV-2 that is now:
Exposed group – This means all employees at a work location, working area or a common area at work where an employee COVID-19 case was present at any time during the infectious period. A common area at work includes bathrooms, walkways, hallways, aisles, break or eating areas and waiting areas. The following exceptions apply:
NOTE: An exposed group may include employees of more than one employer.
Face covering – A surgical mask, medical procedure mask, or respirator worn voluntarily or tightly woven or nonwoven fabric of at least two layers that completely covers the nose and mouth and is secured to the head with ties, ear loops or elastic bands that go behind the head. If gaiters are worn, they shall have two layers of fabric or be folded to make two layers. A face covering is a solid piece of material without slits, visible holes or punctures and must fit snugly over the nose, mouth and chin with no large gaps on the outside of the face. A face covering does not include a scarf, ski mask, balaclava, bandana, turtleneck, collar or a single layer of fabric. This definition includes clear face coverings or cloth face coverings with a clear plastic panel that otherwise meet this definition and which may be used to facilitate communication with people who are deaf or hard of hearing or others who need to see a speaker’s mouth or facial expressions to understand speech or sign language respectively.
Infectious period –
Respirator – Means a respiratory protection device approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to protect the wearer from particulate matter, such as an N95 filtering facepiece respirator.
Returned case – Means a COVID-19 case who returned to work pursuant to subsection (c)(10) and did not develop any COVID-19 symptoms after returning. A person shall only be considered a returned case for 30 days after the initial onset of COVID-19 symptoms or, if the person never developed COVID-19 symptoms, for 30 days after the first positive test. If a period of other than 30 days is required by a CDPH regulation or order, that period shall apply.
Worksite – Building, store or facility or other location where a COVID-19 case was present during the infectious period. It does not apply to buildings, floors or other locations that a COVID-19 case did not enter, locations where the worker worked by themselves without exposure to other employees or to a worker’s personal residence or alternative work location chosen by the worker when working remotely
Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA): To report any serious illness or injury or death of an employee that occurred at work or in connection with work. Reporting needs to occur within eight hours of when they knew or should have known of the illness, injury or death. This includes a COVID-19 illness if it meets the definition of serious illness. “Serious injury or illness” is defined in Title 8 Section 330(h) and includes inpatient hospitalization for a reason other than medical observation or diagnostic testing.
Workers’ compensation carrier: From Sept. 18, 2020, until Jan. 1, 2024, employers of > 5 employees must notify workers’ comp carrier of an employee with a positive test regardless of where employee became infected. Must report within three business days of learning or reasonably knowing that an employee tested positive for COVID-19. An employee who believes they became ill with COVID-19 due to exposure at work can file a claim and must be given a claim form.
CDPH- Guidance on Isolation and Quarantine for COVID-19 (ca.gov)
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