In the event a worker tests positive for COVID-19, employers must follow the requirements outlined in the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) and California Assembly Bill 685.
Note: In the event of an outbreak (3 or more cases at the worksite as defined by CDPH), the employer is ALSO required to complete all steps in What to Do if There is a COVID-19 Outbreak at the Worksite.
Step 1: Provide instructions to the COVID-19-positive worker and any close contacts
Work Exclusion & Isolation Period
Non-high-risk, non-congregate settings: The COVID-19 positive worker must be sent home immediately and instructed to isolate. Advise all positive, symptomatic, or exposed workers who had close contact with the COVID-19 positive worker to follow COVID-19 Guidelines for the General Public.
The County of Santa Clara discourages employers from requiring a medical note to return to work as long as the criteria detailed in the Return to Work Letter below are met.
Updated 5/25/22 Return to Work Letter (PDF): | English | Chinese | Spanish | Vietnamese | Tagalog |
High-risk, congregate settings (healthcare settings or congregate living settings, such as jails or shelters): Healthcare workers in acute care hospitals or skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) should follow the isolation, testing, and work restriction guidance in AFL 21-08. Staff and residents in other high-risk settings* should follow the COVID-19 Guidelines for Staff and Residents in High-Risk Settings.
*Other high-risk settings include all healthcare settings not covered by AFL 21-08 and congregate settings such as shelters, correctional facilities, long-term care settings, and adult and senior care facilities. See CDPH for more information and refer to CDPH guidance for your facility type. All shelters should refer to CDPH Guidance for Clients in Congregate Shelters.
Note: In the workplace, employers are subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) or in some workplaces the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard (PDF), and should consult those regulations for additional applicable requirements, including requirements related to testing and masking in the workplace.
For an overview of requirements for employees who test positive or are exposed to COVID-19, refer to the Cal/OSHA What Employers and Workers Need to Know about Isolation and Quarantine fact sheet.
General Advisory & Symptom Monitoring for All Other Employees
All others present at the workplace, but NOT identified as close contacts, should be advised to self-monitor for symptoms and wear a mask for 10 days after the last day that the person diagnosed with COVID-19 was at work.
Step 2: Report Outbreaks to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department
Most businesses are no longer required by law to report individual cases of COVID-19. However, they are required to report all outbreaks (3 or more cases as defined by CDPH) within 48 hours through the Shared Portal for Outbreak Tracking (SPOT). The information provided will remain confidential and does not affect immigration status. You may update the information you provide if you discover additional information after your initial report. The Public Health Department may ask for further information to be reported if a worksite outbreak is identified.
Step 3: Report Any Hospitalizations or Deaths to the Local Cal/OSHA District Office
Any serious injury, illness, or death occurring in any place of employment or in connection with any employment must be reported by the employer to the local Cal/OSHA district office immediately. For COVID-19, this includes hospitalizations and deaths among employees, even if work-relatedness is uncertain.
Step 4: Disinfection After a Confirmed COVID-19 Case at the Workplace
According to Cal/OSHA ETS, 8 CCR section 3205(c)(7)(B) - Employers shall implement cleaning and disinfecting procedures, which require:
Cleaning of areas, material, and equipment used by a COVID-19 case during the high-risk exposure period, and disinfection if the area, material, or equipment is indoors and will be used by another employee within 24 hours of the COVID-19 case.
Step 5: Preventing Workplace COVID-19 Transmission
Employers must follow all Cal/OSHA ETS requirements for preventing workplace COVID-19 transmission.
Face coverings must be worn at certain times and in certain settings as required by the State's Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings, a County Health Order Requiring Use of Face Coverings in Higher-Risk Settings, and Cal/OSHA's Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS).
Businesses are also recommended to encourage COVID-19 vaccination. The most important thing a workplace can do to decrease risk of COVID-19 in the workplace is to facilitate vaccination where feasible. All individuals ages 6 months and up are eligible for vaccination. More information about available vaccines and how to access them can be found at www.sccfreevax.org.