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A downloadable version of this flowchart can be accessed at the bottom of this page.
Process for Reporting Symptoms/Positive Test for COVID-19
When symptoms are reported by:
If Patient Reports Symptoms
If Employee Reports Symptoms
Process for Employee Exposure
Follow if an employee reports a “close contact” exposure or is determined to have had a “close contact” exposure to a COVID-19 case.
The employee is boosted, or vaccinated, but not yet booster-eligible:
The employee does not need to be excluded from the workplace.
An employee is unvaccinated, ** or vaccinated and booster-eligible but has not yet received their booster dose:
Employee May Not Continue to Work
**Includes persons previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, including within the last 90 day
Glossary of terms:
(A) A person’s status two weeks after completing primary vaccination with a COVID-19 vaccine with, if applicable, at least the minimum recommended interval between doses in accordance with the approval, authorization, or listing that is:
1. Approved or authorized for emergency use by the FDA;
2. Listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO); or
3. Administered as part of a clinical trial at a U.S. site
(B) A person’s status two weeks after receiving the second dose of any combination of two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine that is approved or authorized by the FDA, or listed as a two-dose series by the WHO (i.e., a heterologous primary series of such vaccines, receiving doses of different COVID-19 vaccines as part of one primary series). The second dose of the series must not be received earlier than 17 days (21 days with a 4- day grace period) after the first dose
(A) Cleared, approved, or authorized, including in an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to detect current infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (e.g., a viral test);
(B) Administered in accordance with the authorized instructions; and
(C) Not both self-administered and self-read unless observed by the employer or an authorized telehealth proctor. Examples of tests that satisfy this requirement include tests with specimens that are processed by a laboratory (including home or on-site collected specimens which are processed either individually or as pooled specimens), proctored over-the-counter tests, point of care tests, and tests where specimen collection and processing is either done or observed by an employer.
Local health department:
Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA):
Workers’ compensation carrier:
Cal/OSHA Return to Work Requirements:
The period of time before an employee can return to work after “close contact” or COVID-19 illness has been revised to be consistent with current CDPH guidelines. These time frames will automatically update if CDPH updates their guidelines pursuant to the Governor’s executive order.
An employee who was under an order issued by a local or state official to isolate or quarantine may return to work when the order is lifted, 10 days after the order to isolate was effective or 14 days after the order to quarantine was effective.
COVID-19 cases, regardless of vaccination status, previous infection, or lack of symptoms, may return to work when they have met the following criteria:
Persons who are unvaccinated, or vaccinated and booster-eligible but have not yet received their booster dose who had a close contact exposure may return to work when they have met the following criteria:
**Includes persons previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, including within the last 90 days.
Persons who are boosted, or vaccinated, but not yet booster-eligible exposed to someone with COVID-19, do not need to quarantine if they:
Until further California guidance is released, when an employee who is current on their vaccinations is unable to test on day 5 after close contact, the current ETS guidance applies. As of Jan. 14, 2022, this means employees who are up to date on their vaccinations and cannot be tested on day 5 will need to wear a face-covering and maintain six feet of distance for 14 days following the close contact.
A note on Testing from CDPH:
"Either an antigen test or nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) can be used. Some people may be beyond the period of expected infectiousness but remain NAAT positive for an extended period. Antigen tests typically have a more rapid turnaround time but are often less sensitive than NAAT. Antigen testing is preferred for discontinuation of isolation and return-to-work for SARS-CoV-2 infected HCP and for HCP who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection in the prior 90 days; NAAT is also acceptable if done and negative within 48h of return."
Guidance on Quarantine and Isolation for Health Care Personnel (HCP) Exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and Return to Work for HCP with COVID-19
Calculating Quarantine/ Isolation: The date of your close contact exposure, date symptoms started, or the date the positive test was administered is considered day 0. Day 1 is the first full day after your last contact with a person who has had COVID-19.