On June 8, 2022, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) issued its latest COVID-19 order titled, “Beyond the Blueprint” (the “Order”). For the full Order click here. The following day, on June 9, 2022, the CDPH issued “Guidance for Local Health Jurisdictions on Isolation and Quarantine of the General Public,” which can be viewed here.
The most significant change in the Order is the revised definition of “Close Contact.” Previously, the term "close contact" was defined as being within six feet of a COVID-19 positive case for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. The Order removes the proximity requirement (i.e., being within six feet), and now defines a close contact to mean “… someone sharing the same indoor airspace [as a COVID-19 positive case] (e.g., home, clinic waiting room, airplane etc.) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. The CDPH notes that this definition revision is necessary to, “…acknowledge that COVID-19 is an airborne disease, rather than one spread by respiratory droplets.”
While we await further guidance from the CDPH to clarify what it means to “share the same indoor airspace,” employers are strongly encouraged to review Cal/OSHA’s current ventilation standards as codified in the Emergency Temporary Standards (available here). Cal/OSHA’s ventilation standards require employers to maximize the use of outdoor air to the extent feasible. Should a business use recirculated air, it should be filtered with the highest filtration efficiency compatible with the employer’s ventilation system (Cal/OSHA recommends a MERV of 13 or better).
The Order also reiterates the following mandatory guidance that remains in effect:
The Order also updated the CDPH’s recommendations and guidance regarding relevant time periods for restricting movement to acknowledge that COVID-19 has recently evolved to have a shorter incubation period (i.e., an average of 2-3 days). This updated guidance can be viewed here.
Remember that healthcare personnel in certain health care settings, emergency medical services personnel, and skilled nursing facility residents have special rules that apply those personnel and those settings. Be sure to review those industry-specific rules if they apply to your business.
Remember as well that local jurisdictions are authorized to implement (and do implement) additional local COVID-19 requirements which go beyond those of the state. Always be sure to review both your state and local rules on a regular basis.
As we have learned over the past two years, the COVID-19 rules, regulations and guidance are ever-evolving and constant vigilance is required to remain in compliance. We will continue to provide updates as additional information is provided by the CDPH or Cal/OSHA on this topic.
For further information regarding COVID-19 questions or other employment law issues, contact the attorneys at LightGabler.For further information regarding COVID-19 questions or other employment law issues, contact the attorneys at LightGabler.