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March 16, 2023

CDPH Issues New COVID-19 Public Health Officer Order

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued a new COVID-19 Public Health Officer Order updating COVID-19 protocols for the workplace. In effect as of March 13, 2023, the Order mandates the following changes:

  • Updated recommendations regarding isolation for persons infected with COVID-19.
  • Updated definition of infectious period in alignment with updated recommendations regarding isolation of persons infected with COVID-19.
  • Includes definition of confirmed case.

The update is meant to bring the CDPH in alignment with current CDC Recommendations for Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19 .

Under the new Order:

  1. All individuals must follow the requirements in the Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings issued by the CDPH through April 2, 2023, after which time they will become recommendations.
  2. Recommendations for isolation and quarantine are updated to include the following definitions:
    1. “Close Contact” means the following:
      1. ​ In indoor spaces 400,000 or fewer cubic feet per floor (such as home, clinic waiting room, airplane etc.), a close contact is defined as 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.
      2. ​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), a close contact is defined as 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.[i]
    2. Infectious Period is defined as:
      1. ​​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
      2. For asymptomatic confirmed cases, 2 days before the positive specimen collection date (collection date is Day 0) through Day 5 after positive specimen collection date for their first positive COVID-19 test.[ii]

A confirmed COVID-19 case is still defined as “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.”

Employers are reminded that COVID-19 compliance remains a multifaceted endeavor in that they must consider state (CDPH and Cal/OSHA COVID-19 prevention non-emergency rules/recommendations) as well as federal (Center for Disease Control recommendations). Click here for additional information on Cal/OSHA’s newly adopted COVID-19 Prevention non-emergency rules.

 

[i] This definition aligns with Cal/OSHA’s new non-emergency COVID-19 standards definition of “close contact.” Spaces that are separated by floor-to-ceiling walls (e.g., offices, suites, rooms, waiting areas, bathrooms, or break or eating areas that are separated by floor-to-ceiling walls) must be considered distinct indoor airspaces.

[ii] For the purposes of identifying close contacts and exposures, symptomatic and asymptomatic confirmed cases who end isolation in accordance with CDPH Isolation and Quarantine Guidance are no longer considered to be within their infectious period.