California Employer Action: Update COVID-19 Exposure Notice Protocols
On October 14, 2022, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) ordered a new definition of “Close Contact” effective immediately. The new definition requires employers to reexamine existing COVID-19 policies and notices to employees, update them to conform to the CDPH’s newest guidance and adapt related protocols. This is especially important as the COVID-19 notice mandate to provide notice of potential exposure to COVID-19 to employees was set to sunset on January 1, 2023 until Governor Newsom signed AB 2693 into law extending the notice requirement another year, through January 1, 2024.
The New Close Contact Test:
Essentially, sharing the same airspace for 15 minutes, regardless of distance, from an infected person is now a close contact in smaller indoor settings. “Close contact” is now defined as either:
- Sharing the same airspace as an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period inside an indoor space of 400,000 or fewer cubic feet per floor (such as a home, clinic waiting room, airplane, etc.) is now a “close contact”, or
- In larger indoor spaces (more than 400,000 cubic feet per floor, such as open-floor-plan offices, warehouses, large retail stores, manufacturing, or food processing facilities), “close contact” is defined as being within 6 feet of the infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
Indoor offices or spaces that are separated by floor-to-ceiling walls (e.g., single offices, suites, rooms, waiting areas, bathrooms, or break or eating areas) are considered distinct indoor airspaces are most likely under 400,000 cubic feet.
A person is considered infected within the “Infectious Period” which is defined 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, or
- 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 clarity, any infected person who tests negative on or after Day 5 and ends isolation is not considered to be within the infectious period and will not cause a “Close Contact” or exposure notice to be initiated.
If you need help adjusting or creating a COVID-19 exposure policy, notice or protocol, please reach out to your favorite CDF attorney.