On June 20, 2023, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) revised its guidelines regarding identification of COVID-19 outbreaks. The updated definition modifies the timeframe for determining the number of COVID-19 cases constituting an outbreak from 14 days to 7 days. The CDPH also updated its “Public Health Order Questions and Answers: COVID-19 Disease Control and Prevention.

Consequently, this alteration by CDPH adjusts the definition of an outbreak for Cal/OSHA’s non-emergency COVID-19 standard. As a result, Cal/OSHA has also updated their Frequently Asked Questions to reflect the new CDPH guidance. Under the new guidelines, an employer is now obligated to enforce the more stringent outbreak provisions of the COVID-19 standard only if there have been at least three COVID-19 cases within an exposed group within a 7-day period. 

Although this update changes the definition of an outbreak, public agencies are still required to look at a 14-day period in order to be removed from outbreak status according to 3205.1 COVID-19 Outbreaks, section (a). This section applies until there are one or fewer COVID-19 cases detected in the exposed group for a 14-day period. The recent updates do not make changes to the major outbreak provisions, and those are triggered by 20 or more employee COVID-19 cases in the exposed group within a 30-day period.

PRISM continues to monitor the CDPH and Cal/OSHA for changes. For questions regarding CDPH or the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Non-Emergency Regulations, please contact John Nichols.