HR Hot Topic – CDC Shortens Recommended Isolation, Quarantine Periods for Public — But Employers Must Follow Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS
Recently the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) readopted the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) for a second time, which includes the latest recommendations from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The following changes will take effect on January 14, 2022.
- COVID-19 in the workplace – Employers are still required to provide notice of COVID-19 in the workplace. This update now includes additional instructions on how to notify workers.
- COVID-19 Tests – Testing now includes home tests, over-the-counter tests, and point-for-care tests (in addition to viral tests) as long as the test is not self-administered or self-read.
- Face Coverings – The definition was updated to include more detail on the different types of acceptable face coverings.
- Quarantine Period – In accordance with CDC guidelines quarantine period recommendation depends on an individual’s vaccination status:
- For unvaccinated individuals — or those who are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than two months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted — the CDC now recommends five days’ quarantine followed by strict mask use for an additional five days. Alternatively, if a five-day quarantine isn’t feasible, the CDC states it’s imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.
- Individuals who have received their booster shot don’t need to quarantine after an exposure, but they should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure.
- The agency also indicates that a best practice for all individuals exposed is to test for SARS-CoV-2 at day five after exposure and, if symptoms occur, immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms aren’t attributable to COVID-19.
- Return to Work Criteria: The period of time before an employee can return to work after close contact or COVID-19 infection 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 (N-84-20).
- Outbreak in the Workplace: If three or more people in the workplace test positive, the employer must make testing available to all employees exposed regardless of vaccination and symptom status.
We will continue to provide information and guidance regarding HR-related news. Should you have any questions, please reach out to our Human Resources Department at 916-266-4370.