COVID regulations surrounding quarantine and isolation requirements continue to evolve for Los Angeles County. The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued two orders, effective August 26, 2021, governing quarantine for those in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 (Quarantine Order) and for those who develop COVID-19 themselves (Isolation Order). The Orders are available here: County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health Order of the Health Officer Emergency Quarantine Order and County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health Order of the Health Officer Emergency Isolation Order. These updates supersede the last quarantine and isolation orders issued in December 2020. Of note, is that employees may leave quarantine and isolation periods sooner than 10 days if they meet the criteria as set out below.*
(09/03/21 update: Remember that leaving quarantine/isolation simply means being able to leave home. It does not mean that the employee can return to work: for that, employees should follow the rules on exclusion from and return to work in Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standards. See blog post dated 09/03/21, above.)
* Clarification: Please remember that employees in Los Angeles County are subject both to the Los Angeles County Health Officer orders (governing when they must stay home), and to Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standards (governing when they must stay away from work), and the two standards are not necessarily the same. Thus, for example, under the Quarantine Order, close contacts may discontinue quarantine (i.e., may leave home) after Day 7 in some cases, but under the ETS, may not return to work until Day 10.
Duty to quarantine: Persons in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 must quarantine, meaning they must stay home and separate themselves from others, unless they are exempt. (Close contact means being within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period; or having unprotected contact with their body fluids and/or secretions.)
Persons are exempt from this duty to quarantine if they: (1) do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and (2) they either (a) are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or (b) they are unvaccinated but tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered.
Duration of quarantine: Persons who do not develop symptoms of COVID-19 may discontinue self-quarantine under the following conditions: a) after Day 10, measured from the last time the employee had contact with the infected person; OR b) after Day 7, if the employee has a negative viral test result from a specimen that was collected after Day 5 from the last time they had contact with the infected person. If the employee develops COVID-19 symptoms at any point up to Day 14, they must isolate (see below).
Persons are required to isolate if they tested positive for COVID-19 or a healthcare provider clinically suspects the employee has COVID-19.
Positive test: If a person tests positive for COVID-19 and has symptoms, they must isolate until: 1) at least 10 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared AND 2) at least 24 hours have passed since they have been fever-free without the use of fever reducing medications AND 3) their symptoms have improved. If a person tests positive for COVID-19 but never has any symptoms, they must isolate for ten days after the date of the positive test.
Clinical suspicion: If a person is informed by a healthcare provider that they clinically suspect the employee has COVID-19, the person must isolate until either (1) (a) at least 10 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared AND b) at least 24 hours have passed since they have been fever-free without the use of fever reducing medications AND c) their symptoms have improved; OR (2) a) their healthcare provider reassesses their diagnosis and concludes that they do not have COVID-19 AND b) at least 24 hours have passed since they have been fever-free without using medications.
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