Every New Year begins with new legal obligations for California employers, and this year is no exception. On December 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) updated their Isolation and Quarantine recommendations for the general public. On December 30 and 31, 2021 both California and Los Angeles County, respectively, updated their COVID-related guidance for the general public. Below is a summary of the new guidance issued.

Please note that, until further notice, employers are still subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), or in some workplaces, the Cal/OSHA Aerosol transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard), and should consult those regulations for additional applicable requirements.

Additionally, ​these updates do NOT apply to healthcare personnel in any setting.

California Department of Public Health

Effective December 30, 2021, the California Department of Public Health issued the following updates to align with the CDC and to introduce additional mitigation measures. The new Order:

  • Updates isolation and quarantine recommendations for the general public, in alignment with timeframe recommendations from the CDC.
  • Recommends additional mitigation measures regarding self-isolation, quarantine, and improved masking.
  • Clarifies that fully vaccinated persons who are booster-eligible, but have not yet received their booster dose are recommended to quarantine per updated CDC recommendations.
  • Includes an Appendix to determine when a person is “booster-eligible.”

Isolation and Quarantine Recommendations for the General Public (not applicable to healthcare personnel or workplaces)

Persons Who Test Positive for COVID-19 (Isolation) 

Recommended Action

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, previous infection or lack of symptoms.

  • Stay home for at least 5 days.
  • Isolation can end after day 5 if symptoms are not present or are resolving and a diagnostic specimen* collected on day 5 or later tests negative.
  • If unable to test or choosing not to test, and symptoms are not present or are resolving, isolation can end after day 10.
  • If fever is present, isolation should be continued until fever resolves.
  • If symptoms, other than fever, are not resolving continue to isolate until symptoms are resolving or until after day 10.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings (see Section below on masking for additional information)

*Antigen test preferred.

 

Persons Who are Exposed to Someone with COVID-19 (Quarantine) 

Recommended Action

  • Unvaccinated**; OR 
  • Vaccinated and booster-eligible** but have not yet received their booster dose.

**Includes persons previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, including within the last 90 days.

(See Appendix for definition of booster-eligible)

 

  • Stay home (PDF) for at least 5 days, after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
  • Test on day 5.
  • Quarantine can end after day 5 if symptoms are not present and a diagnostic specimen collected on day 5 or later tests negative.
  • If unable to test or choosing not to test, and symptoms are not present, quarantine can end after day 10.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings (see Section below on masking for additional information)
  • If testing positive, follow isolation recommendations above.
  • If symptoms develop, test and stay home.

 

Persons Who are Exposed to Someone with COVID-19 (No Quarantine) 

Recommended Action

  • Boosted; OR
  • Vaccinated, but not yet booster-eligible.

(See Appendix for definition of booster-eligible)

  • Test on day 5. 
  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days, especially in indoor settings (see Section below on masking for additional information)
  • If testing positive, follow isolation recommendations above.
  • If symptoms develop, test and stay home. 

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (“LADPH”)

Considering the drastic increase in recent COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Los Angeles County, the following changes have been implemented and are effective as of December 31, 2021:

  1. All persons must comply with the isolation and quarantine requirements placed by the State Public Health Officer’s revised Guidance for Location Health Jurisdictions on Isolation and Quarantine of the General Public, released on December 30, 2021 (above).
  2. As soon as practicable, all employers and businesses must provide and require on-site employees (whether assigned or contracted workers, or volunteers) to wear a well-fitting medical grade mask, surgical mask or higher-level respirator approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) such as an N95 filtering face mask, at all times while indoors at the workplace or facility.

All members of the general public must comply with the Isolation Order and Quarantine Order issued by the LADPH.

Specifically:

  1. Isolation: Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 (regardless of vaccination status, previous infection, or lack of symptoms) must self-isolate for at least 5 days.

 

  • Isolation may be ended if:
    • Asymptomatic or fever free and symptoms are improving; and
    • A diagnostic specimen (antigen testing is preferred) collected on Day 5 or later is negative.

OR

  • If unable to test, or choosing not to test, and symptoms are not present or are resolving, isolation can end after Day 10.
  • A well-fitting mask while around others should be worn for a total of 10 days (surgical or respirator medical grade masks for adults, and non-cloth masks of multiple layers of non-woven material with a nose wire for children).

 

  1. Quarantine is Required for:
  • All unvaccinated persons;
  • Those who are fully vaccinated and are eligible to receive a booster but have not yet done so; and
  • Those who were infected with COVID-19 in the last 90 days.

 

  • Such individuals must:
    • Quarantine for at least 5 days after their last contact with a person who has COVID-19; and
    • Test immediately and, if negative, test again on Day 5 after their last exposure.

 

  • Quarantine may be ended after Day 5 if:
    • They are asymptomatic; and
    • A diagnostic specimen (antigen testing is preferred) collected on Day 5 or later is negative.

OR

  • If unable to test, or choosing not to test, and symptoms are not present, quarantine can end after Day 10.
  • A well-fitting mask while around others should be worn for a total of 10 days (surgical or respirator medical grade masks for adults, and non-cloth masks of multiple layers of non-woven material with a nose wire for children).

 

  1. Quarantine is NOT Required for:

 

  • Individuals who have received their COVID-19 vaccine booster; or
  • Are fully vaccinated but are not yet eligible for a booster.
  • Such individuals must test immediately and, if negative, test again on Day 5 after their last exposure.
  • A well-fitting mask while around others should be worn for a total of 10 days (surgical or respirator medical grade masks for adults, and non-cloth masks of multiple layers of non-woven material with a nose wire for children).

Please note that in settings with active outbreaks, quarantine and isolation may be extended for additional days by County Public Health outbreak investigators to help lower the risk of transmission. In the event that an owner, manager, or operation of any business knows of three or more cases of COVID-19 among their employees, assigned, contracted, or volunteers within a span of 14 days, the employer must report this outbreak to the Department of Public Health at (888) 397-3993 or (213)240-7821, or online at Los Angeles County Dept of Public Health COVID-19 Cases and Suspected Outbreak Reporting Form for Facilities (lacounty.gov).

As additional guidance is issued, we will keep you informed.

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