CDC Updates COVID-19 Guidance
In an August 11, 2022 press release, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") announced that the agency is "streamlining" its COVID-19 guidance. Most notably, the new guidelines recommend that persons exposed to COVID-19 do not need to quarantine, but should wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day five. The new guidance also removes previous recommendations that people stay six feet away from others.
The CDC guidance recommends that persons isolate if they are sick and suspect that they have COVID-19 but do not yet have test results. If a person tests positive for COVID-19, the CDC recommends they stay home for at least five days and isolate from others in the home. If after five days, the person is fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication, and symptoms are improving, or the person never had symptoms, they may end isolation after day five.
Although the CDC guidance is not enforceable law, many states have incorporated the guidance into their COVID-19 workplace standards. Further, employers can use compliance with CDC guidance to show they are furnishing a workplace that is free from recognized hazards and avoid citations under federal OSHA's General Duty Clause.
Employers in California must still follow the CDPH Isolation & Quarantine guidance, as incorporated by CalOSHA's COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards, which require persons who test positive for COVID-19 to stay home for at least five days after start of symptoms (or after date of first positive test if no symptoms). Isolation can end after day five if symptoms are not present or are resolving and a the person tests negative. If the infected person does not take a COVID-19 test, isolation can end after day 10 if fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.