Under updated guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”), certain asymptomatic unvaccinated employees who have had a close contact exposure to someone with COVID-19 may end their quarantine and return to work seven (7) days after the exposure as opposed to ten (10) days.
The CDPH guidance provides that unvaccinated individuals who have a close contact exposure may discontinue the required quarantine after seven (7) days, so long as the individual is asymptomatic, is tested for COVID-19 at least five (5) days after the exposure, and the test produces a negative result. This quarantine period is shorter than the ten (10) day exclusion period required for such individuals under the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Regulations.
Given the updated guidance, asymptomatic unvaccinated employees who have a close contact exposure may discontinue their quarantine and return to work under either of the following circumstances:
- Ten (10) days after the date of the last known close contact exposure without being tested for COVID-19; or
- Seven (7) days after the last known close contact exposure if the employee is tested for COVID-19 no earlier than the fifth (5th) day following the last exposure and the employee tests negative.
In addition to the rules regarding the discontinuation of the quarantine, asymptomatic unvaccinated employees should continue daily self-monitoring for symptoms and follow all recommended safety precautions (wearing a mask when around others, hand washing, avoiding crowds, and staying at least six feet from others) for fourteen (14) days following the last known exposure. If an employer prevents one of their employees from complying with these conditions, the employee will need to observe the longer exclusion period specified in the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Regulations.