On Jan. 6, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) updated its answers on the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) isolation recommendation found in its guidance, “COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards Frequently Asked Questions.”
Cal/OSHA confirmed in its updated FAQs that the CDPH’s Dec. 30, 2021 isolation and quarantine recommendations replace the Cal/OSHA emergency temporary standards (ETS). In reaching its conclusion, Cal/OSHA relied on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-84-20. As Cal/OSHA reads the executive order, the CDPH’s and/or local jurisdiction’s quarantine and isolation recommendations override ETS quarantine and isolation periods if the ETS exclusions period is longer than the CDPH’s and/or local jurisdiction’s recommendations.
Cal/OSHA specifically confirmed the following quarantine and isolation periods for workers who test positive or are exposed to someone with COVID-19:
Cal/OSHA considers “unvaccinated” to include workers who have had Covid-19 in the last 90 days.
“Employees do not need to quarantine if they:
Cal/OSHA explained that the CDPH recommendations took effect immediately but clarified and explained that the June 17, 2021, ETS remained in effect until Jan. 14. Until then (Jan. 14), the quarantine rules for fully vaccinated workers set forth in the current ETS continued to apply because the exclusion period for fully vaccinated workers was not longer than those recommended by the updated CDPH guidance.
Importantly, Cal/OSHA advised employers to review and begin the process of communicating and implementing the CDPH recommendations. The CDPH recommendations replaced exclusion periods and return to work criteria for all workers when the second readoption of the ETS took effect on Jan. 14.