California: COVID-19 Emergency is Ending but Lasting Changes Remain
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Governor Newsome recently announced California’s state of emergency will end February 28, 2023. This timeline was meant to take into account any surge that may occur after the holidays in January and February. Despite the end of the state of emergency, California has implemented lasting measures to continue to combat the virus, such as vaccines and boosters, testing, treatments, and other mitigation measures like masking and indoor ventilation requirements.
California continues to adjust its regulations to address the ongoing presence of COVID-19. With the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 emergency temporary standard expiring on December 31, 2022, Cal/OSHA is expected to vote at its December 15, 2022 meeting to approve a final version of a proposed non-emergency COVID-19 regulation that will continue and modify some existing rules.
In the meantime, on October 13, 2022, the California Department of Public Health updated the definition of “close contact” for purposes of COVID-19 to account for potential exposure in different environments. Specifically, 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 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.
- Review COVID-19 prevention protocols for updates and compliance.
- Have appropriate personnel trained on close contact requirements.
- Look for final approval on COVID-19 regulations.
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