CalOSHA and AB-685

  1. Q: How do the January 6, 2022 changes to CDPH’s recommended isolation and quarantine periods affect the ETS?
    A: In December of 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order N-84-20, which states that the recommended isolation and quarantine periods in the ETS (also called “exclusion periods” in the ETS) will be overridden by any applicable isolation or quarantine recommendation by the CDPH or, if applicable, the local health department with jurisdiction over the workplace, if the periods in the ETS are longer than those recommended by the CDPH or local health department. If the CDPH and local health department isolation and quarantine recommendations differ, the required exclusion period under the ETS is the longer of the two.

    This means that, with only one exception noted below, the new isolation and quarantine recommendations from CDPH replace the exclusion periods and return to work criteria in sections 3205(c)(9) and 3205(c)(10) of the ETS. The exclusion requirements are as follows in the tables below.

    The June 17, 2021 ETS remains in effect until January 14, 2022. Until then, the quarantine rules for fully vaccinated workers set forth therein continue to apply because exclusion period for this group of workers is not longer than those recommended by the updated CDPH guidance. However, employers are encouraged to review and begin the process of implementing the CDPH recommendations before then. The CDPH recommendations will replace exclusion periods and return to work criteria for all workers when the second readoption of the ETS takes effect on January 14, 2022.

    Table 1: Exclusion Requirements for Employees Who Test Positive for COVID-19 (Isolation)

    Requirements apply to all employees, regardless of vaccination status, previous infection, or lack of symptoms.
    • Employees who test positive for COVID-19 must be excluded from the workplace for at least 5 days.
    • Isolation can end and employees may return to the workplace after day 5 if symptoms are not present or are resolving, and a diagnostic specimen* collected on day 5 or later tests negative.
    • If an employee is unable or chooses not to testi and their symptoms are not present or are resolving, isolation can end and the employee may return to the workplace after day 10.
    • If an employee has a feverii, isolation must continue and the employee may not return to work until the fever resolvesiii.
    • If an employee’s symptoms other than fever are not resolving, they may not return to work until their symptoms are resolving or until after day 10 from the positive test.
    • Employees must wear face coverings around others for a total of 10 days after the positive test, especially in indoor settings. Please refer to the section in this FAQ on face coverings for additional face covering requirements.

    * Antigen test preferred.

    Table 2: Employees Who Are Exposed to Someone with COVID-19 (Quarantine)

    Requirements apply to employees who are:
    • Unvaccinated; OR
    • Vaccinated and booster-eligible+ but have not yet received their booster dose.++

    + Refer to CDC COVID-19 Booster Shots to determine who is booster eligible.

    • Employees must be excluded from the workplace for at least 5 days after their last close contact with a person who has COVID-19.
    • Exposed employees must test on day 5.
    • Quarantine can end and exposed employees may return to the workplace after day 5 if symptoms are not present and a diagnostic specimen* collected on day 5 or later tests negative.
    • If an employee is unable or chooses not to testi and does not have symptoms, quarantine can end and the employee may return to the workplace after day 10.
    • Employees must wear face coverings around others for a total of 10 days after exposure, especially in indoor settings. Please refer to the section in this FAQ on face coverings for additional face covering requirements.
    • If an exposed employee tests positive for COVID-19, they must follow the isolation requirements above in Table 1.
    • If an exposed employee develops symptoms, they must be excluded pending the results of a test.
    • Employees are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated or boosted.

    * Antigen test preferred.

    ++Employers are not required to exclude asymptomatic employees in this category if:

    • A negative diagnostic test* is obtained within 3-5 days after last exposure to a case;
    • Employee wears a face covering around others for a total of 10 days (please refer to the section in this FAQ on face coverings for additional face covering requirements); and
    • Employee continues to have no symptoms.

    Table 3: Employees Who Are Exposed to Someone with COVID-19 (No Quarantine Required)

    Requirements apply to employees who are:
    • Boosted; OR
    • Vaccinated, but not yet booster-eligible.×

    × Refer to CDC COVID-19 Booster Shots to determine who is booster eligible.

    Employees do not need to quarantine if they:
    • Test on day 5 with a negative result.
    • Wear face coverings around others for 10 days after exposure, especially in indoor settings. Please refer to the section in this FAQ on face coverings for additional face covering requirements.
    • If employees test positive, they must follow isolation recommendations above.
    • If employees develop symptoms, they must be excluded pending the results of a test.

    In addition to the above, pursuant to section 3205(c)(10)(E), when an order to isolate, quarantine, or exclude an employee is issued by a local or state health official, the employee shall not return to work until the period of isolation or quarantine is completed or the order is lifted even if the order exceeds the specified exclusion requirements in the ETS or CDPH recommendation.

  2. Q: What if tests cannot be obtained following a close contact?
    A: If employees covered by Table 2 cannot be tested as required, quarantine must continue for at least 10 days as explained in the table. If employees covered by Table 3 cannot be tested on day 5, employers should follow the ETS. For vaccinated close contacts, as of January 14, 2022, that means wearing a face covering and maintaining six feet of distance for 14 days following the close contact.

 


i Employers may require employees submit to viral testing for COVID-19. Please refer to the FAQ from DFEH for further information.

ii A fever is a measured body temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

iii A fever resolves when 24 hours have passed with no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications

  1. Q: How do the January 6, 2022 changes to CDPH’s recommended isolation and quarantine periods affect the ETS?
    A: In December of 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order N-84-20, which states that the recommended isolation and quarantine periods in the ETS (also called “exclusion periods” in the ETS) will be overridden by any applicable isolation or quarantine recommendation by the CDPH or, if applicable, the local health department with jurisdiction over the workplace, if the periods in the ETS are longer than those recommended by the CDPH or local health department. If the CDPH and local health department isolation and quarantine recommendations differ, the required exclusion period under the ETS is the longer of the two.

    This means that, with only one exception noted below, the new isolation and quarantine recommendations from CDPH replace the exclusion periods and return to work criteria in sections 3205(c)(9) and 3205(c)(10) of the ETS. The exclusion requirements are as follows in the tables below.

    The June 17, 2021 ETS remains in effect until January 14, 2022. Until then, the quarantine rules for fully vaccinated workers set forth therein continue to apply because exclusion period for this group of workers is not longer than those recommended by the updated CDPH guidance. However, employers are encouraged to review and begin the process of implementing the CDPH recommendations before then. The CDPH recommendations will replace exclusion periods and return to work criteria for all workers when the second readoption of the ETS takes effect on January 14, 2022.

    Table 1: Exclusion Requirements for Employees Who Test Positive for COVID-19 (Isolation)

    Requirements apply to all employees, regardless of vaccination status, previous infection, or lack of symptoms.
    • Employees who test positive for COVID-19 must be excluded from the workplace for at least 5 days.
    • Isolation can end and employees may return to the workplace after day 5 if symptoms are not present or are resolving, and a diagnostic specimen* collected on day 5 or later tests negative.
    • If an employee is unable or chooses not to testi and their symptoms are not present or are resolving, isolation can end and the employee may return to the workplace after day 10.
    • If an employee has a feverii, isolation must continue and the employee may not return to work until the fever resolvesiii.
    • If an employee’s symptoms other than fever are not resolving, they may not return to work until their symptoms are resolving or until after day 10 from the positive test.
    • Employees must wear face coverings around others for a total of 10 days after the positive test, especially in indoor settings. Please refer to the section in this FAQ on face coverings for additional face covering requirements.

    * Antigen test preferred.

    Table 2: Employees Who Are Exposed to Someone with COVID-19 (Quarantine)

    Requirements apply to employees who are:
    • Unvaccinated; OR
    • Vaccinated and booster-eligible+ but have not yet received their booster dose.++

    + Refer to CDC COVID-19 Booster Shots to determine who is booster eligible.

    • Employees must be excluded from the workplace for at least 5 days after their last close contact with a person who has COVID-19.
    • Exposed employees must test on day 5.
    • Quarantine can end and exposed employees may return to the workplace after day 5 if symptoms are not present and a diagnostic specimen* collected on day 5 or later tests negative.
    • If an employee is unable or chooses not to testi and does not have symptoms, quarantine can end and the employee may return to the workplace after day 10.
    • Employees must wear face coverings around others for a total of 10 days after exposure, especially in indoor settings. Please refer to the section in this FAQ on face coverings for additional face covering requirements.
    • If an exposed employee tests positive for COVID-19, they must follow the isolation requirements above in Table 1.
    • If an exposed employee develops symptoms, they must be excluded pending the results of a test.
    • Employees are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated or boosted.

    * Antigen test preferred.

    ++Employers are not required to exclude asymptomatic employees in this category if:

    • A negative diagnostic test* is obtained within 3-5 days after last exposure to a case;
    • Employee wears a face covering around others for a total of 10 days (please refer to the section in this FAQ on face coverings for additional face covering requirements); and
    • Employee continues to have no symptoms.

    Table 3: Employees Who Are Exposed to Someone with COVID-19 (No Quarantine Required)

    Requirements apply to employees who are:
    • Boosted; OR
    • Vaccinated, but not yet booster-eligible.×

    × Refer to CDC COVID-19 Booster Shots to determine who is booster eligible.

    Employees do not need to quarantine if they:
    • Test on day 5 with a negative result.
    • Wear face coverings around others for 10 days after exposure, especially in indoor settings. Please refer to the section in this FAQ on face coverings for additional face covering requirements.
    • If employees test positive, they must follow isolation recommendations above.
    • If employees develop symptoms, they must be excluded pending the results of a test.

    In addition to the above, pursuant to section 3205(c)(10)(E), when an order to isolate, quarantine, or exclude an employee is issued by a local or state health official, the employee shall not return to work until the period of isolation or quarantine is completed or the order is lifted even if the order exceeds the specified exclusion requirements in the ETS or CDPH recommendation.

  2. Q: What if tests cannot be obtained following a close contact?
    A: If employees covered by Table 2 cannot be tested as required, quarantine must continue for at least 10 days as explained in the table. If employees covered by Table 3 cannot be tested on day 5, employers should follow the ETS. For vaccinated close contacts, as of January 14, 2022, that means wearing a face covering and maintaining six feet of distance for 14 days following the close contact.

 


i Employers may require employees submit to viral testing for COVID-19. Please refer to the FAQ from DFEH for further information.

ii A fever is a measured body temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

iii A fever resolves when 24 hours have passed with no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications.

Additional Resources

  1. Q: What additional resources are available for employers and workers to understand the rule and comply?
    A: Cal/OSHA has a number of resources in place and in development to assist with compliance with the ETS: