What is the change?
The California Department of Public Health has issued an order changing its definition of “close contact” with regard to notifying potentially impacted employees of their exposure to a COVID-19 positive person in the workplace. Effective immediately, “close contact” is now defined as either:
- In an indoor space of 400,000 or fewer cubic feet per floor, sharing the same airspace as an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period.
- In an indoor space of more than 400,000 cubic feet per floor (such as open-floor-plan offices, warehouses, large retail stores, manufacturing, or food processing facilities), being within 6 feet of the infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
- Indoor offices or spaces that are separated by floor-to-ceiling walls (e.g., single offices, suites, rooms, waiting areas, bathrooms, or break or eating areas) are considered distinct indoor airspaces and are most likely under 400,000 cubic feet.
By way of example, 400,000 cubic feet is about 44,444 square feet if the height of the ceiling is nine feet tall. We recommend computing the calculations of your space in cubic feet if you are not sure where your office space fits within this new definition of close contact.
What does this mean for employers?
Having an accurate understanding of who is a “close contact” is important for determining who may need to be notified following exposure to a COVID-19 positive person in the workplace.
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