California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) Standards Board met on April 21, 2022, and formally approved the third readoption of its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (“3rd Revised ETS”), by a 6-1 vote.
The ETS has no set rules for close contact exclusion from the workplace. Instead, it requires that employers “review current [California Department of Public Health] guidance” regarding “quarantine or other measures to reduce transmission,” to “develop, implement, and maintain effective policies” to prevent COVID-19 transmission from close contacts.
On October 14, 2022, the California Department of Public Health published an Order which updated the definitions of Close Contact and Infectious Period to provide entities strategies to prioritize response to potential exposures.
“Close Contact” means the following:
– – In indoor spaces 400,000 or fewer cubic feet per floor (such as home, clinic waiting room, airplane etc.), a close contact is defined as sharing the same indoor airspace for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three separate 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes) during an infected person’s (confirmed by COVID-19 test or clinical diagnosis ) infectious period.
– – In large indoor spaces greater than 400,000 cubic feet per floor (such as open-floor-plan offices, warehouses, large retail stores, manufacturing, or food processing facilities), a 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 during the infected person’s infectious period.
Spaces that are separated by floor-to-ceiling walls (e.g., offices, suites, rooms, waiting areas, bathrooms, or break or eating areas that are separated by floor-to-ceiling walls) must be considered distinct indoor airspaces.
Infectious Period 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 the purposes of identifying close contacts and exposures, infected persons who test negative on or after Day 5 and end isolation are no longer considered to be within their infectious period. Such persons should continue to follow CDPH isolation recommendations, including wearing a well-fitting face mask through Day 10.
This Order went into effect on October 14, 2022, at 12:01 a.m.
Following the new CDPH order defining Close Contact and Infectious Period the Cal/OSHA issued a fifteen-day notice with requests for written comments on proposed updated COVID-19 regulations to Title 8 of the General Industry Safety Orders.
Modifications are now proposed by Cal/OSHA for subsection 3205(a)(1) (scope); subsection 3205(b)(1) (definition of “close contact”); subsection 3205(b)(7)(A) (exception to the definition of “exposed group”); subsection 3205(b)(11) (definition of “returned case”); subsection 3205(c)(1) (universal precaution); subsections 3205(e)(1), (e)(2), and (e)(3) (notice of COVID-19 cases); subsection 3205(h)(1) (ventilation); subsection 3205(j) (reporting and recordkeeping requirements); subsection 3205.1(a)(2) (scope); subsection 3205.1(e) (COVID-19 investigation, review, and hazard correction); and subsection 3205.2(g)(2) (COVID-19 cases and close contacts).
Written comments on the Cal/OSHA proposal are invited, but must be received by 5:00 p.m. on October 31, 2022 at the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board.