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June 24, 2022

CDPH Order Redefines Cal/OSHA ETS “Close Contact” and “Infectious Period” Definitions

On June 8, 2022, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued an Order (June 8th Order) redefining “Close Contact” and “Infectious Period” for purposes of CDPH’s Isolation and Quarantine Guidance (last updated April 6, 2022). These definitions directly affect employer requirements under current Cal/OSHA ETS and should be incorporated into existing Illness and Injury Prevention Plans (IIPP) or COVID Prevention Programs (CCP) as appropriate.

According to the June 8th Order, the revised definitions “acknowledge more recent findings that COVID-19 is an airborne disease, rather than one spread by respiratory droplets and that the virus’ infectious period has recently evolved to have a shorter incubation period (e.g., average 2-3 days). As a result, CDPH recommendations regarding the time periods recommended for restricting movement by quarantine have been updated to acknowledge this shorter period.

The June 8th Order defines:

Close Contact as:

  • “someone sharing the same indoor airspace (e.g., home, clinic waiting room, airplane etc.) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes) during an infected person’s (laboratory-confirmed or a clinical diagnosis) infectious period.”

Infectious Period as:

  • For symptomatic infected persons, 2 days before the infected person had any symptoms through Day 10 after symptoms first appeared (or through Days 5-10 if testing negative on Day 5 or later), and 24 hours have passed with no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and symptoms have improved.
  • For asymptomatic infected persons, 2 days before the positive specimen collection date through Day 10 after positive specimen collection date (or through Days 5-10 if testing negative on Day 5 or later) after specimen collection date for their first positive COVID-19 test.”

For the purposes of identifying close contacts and exposures, infected persons who test negative on or after Day 5 and end isolation are no longer considered to be within their infectious period. Such persons should continue to follow CDPH isolation recommendations, including wearing a well-fitting face mask through Day 10.

These changes are also reflected in additional guidance documents provided by the CDPH which impact employer notice and reporting mandates:

Members with questions about CDPH updated quarantine/isolation periods or employer obligations under Cal/OSHA ETS should contact Western Growers.