(NEW) Relaxed Requirements for COVID-19 Isolation and Testing Announced


By: HR NETwork Inc

HR NETwork

We Put the Human Back
In Human Resources

Cal/OSHA just announced relaxed isolation and testing requirements for employers in light of recent public health guidance. Specifically, the January 9 updates impact Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations and the requirements related to isolating COVID-19 cases and testing of close contacts.  

Here’s what you need to know:  

1. Definition of “Infectious Period” Changed First, the new guidance changes the definition of “infectious period.” Now, the infectious period for a COVID-19 case with symptoms starts a minimum of 24 hours before the onset of symptoms. COVID-19 cases with symptoms may return to work if 24 hours have passed with no fever and symptoms are mild or improving. 

But for non-symptomatic COVID-19 cases, there is no infectious period for the purpose of exclusion or isolation. If symptoms develop, the above criteria for symptomatic cases apply. This marks a significant departure from the previous definition, which defined the infectious period as extending from two days prior to symptom onset until 10 days after the first appearance of symptoms, provided 24 hours have passed with no fever and symptoms have improved.  

2. Reduced Isolation for COVID-19 Cases The biggest change announced by Cal/OSHA and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is that COVID-19 cases without symptoms no longer need to isolate for five days. Instead, they must simply wear a mask for 10 days and avoid contact with people at higher risk for severe COVID-19 for 10 days. COVID-19 cases with symptoms should be excluded for 24 hours and may return when 24 hours have passed with no fever and symptoms are mild and improving.  

3. New Testing Rules for Close Contacts Another important change relates to COVID-19 testing. The CDPH no longer recommends testing for all close contacts, and instead recommends testing only when a close contact (1) has new COVID-19 symptoms, (2) is at higher risk of severe disease, or (3) has contact with people who are at higher risk of severe disease. However, employers are still required to make COVID-19 testing available at no cost during paid time for employees experiencing a close contact, except those who are asymptomatic and recently recovered from COVID-19.  

4. Testing Still Required During Outbreaks While the testing requirements have relaxed, employers are still required to test all close contacts during an outbreak, and everyone in the exposed group during a major outbreak. During an outbreak, employees who have symptoms but refuse to test must be excluded for at least 24 hours from when their symptoms start and must be excluded from work until their symptoms are mild and improving and they have been fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.  

Continued obligations for California employers include:·    

Draft Prevention Policies: Employers are still required to address COVID-19 as a workplace hazard. Employers should check to ensure that their COVID-19 prevention programs do not include outdated language regarding isolation and exclusion requirements. ·    

Provide Notice: While some notice requirements expired on January 1, employers are still required to notify employees and independent contractors who had a close contact, as well as any employer with an employee who had a close contact with a COVID-19 case within one business day. This notice to employees should include information regarding COVID-19 related benefits to which the employee may be entitled under applicable federal, state, or local laws. For example, employees who test positive, are unable to work because of COVID-19, and believe they contracted COVID-19 at work should be provided information regarding how to file a workers’ compensation claim and/or a disability insurance claim. ·    

Exclude COVID-19 Cases: Employers must exclude COVID-19 cases during the infectious period. But as noted above, the definition of infectious period has changed. Now, COVID-19 cases with symptoms should be excluded for 24 hours and may return when 24 hours have passed with no fever and symptoms are mild and improving. COVID-19 cases without symptoms no longer need to isolate. ·    

Provide Face Coverings: Employers must continue to provide face coverings and ensure they are worn when required by CDPH. For example, symptomatic COVID-19 cases that return to work are required to wear a face covering until 10 days have passed since COVID-19 symptoms began. For asymptotic COVID-19 cases, face coverings are required until 10 days have passed from the date of their first positive COVID-19 test.  

As a reminder, these recommendations are important for the application of the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations, which remain in effect until 2025 and incorporate the CDPH’s definitions of infectious period and its guidance for isolation into the regulations.  

We will continue to monitor COVID-19 requirements as they change.

Genoveva Godoy-Thomas

Genoveva Godoy-Thomas joined HR NETwork in October of 2022. She was born in Guatemala, spent her formative years in Fairfax, Virginia and spent over 20 years living in Bethesda, Maryland. As a teen she spent her summers in Orange County where she currently resides. She has native fluency in both English and Spanish.

A seasoned human resource professional, having worked at Marriott International for 23 years in various Human Resources related roles in addition to working as a Human Resources manager/office manager for an Estate planning firm. She also holds a B.S. in Business Management and Human Resources Management from the University of Maryland.

Genoveva enjoys volunteering at First Tee golf photographing events, actively volunteering at her son and nieces’ school when needed. She loves to spend her time with her son enjoying the outdoors and teaching him to love and respect nature. 

Michelle Brubaker

Michelle Brubaker, the Business Manager of HR NETwork, has been with the company for 16 years. Joining the team as an HR Coordinator, she quickly worked her way up to Executive Assistant and on to her current role as Business Manager. Handling all things business-related including contracts and accounting, she is the unwavering support of HR NETwork.

Michelle has an impressive resume with almost 20 years of experience in supervising, managing, and motivating teams. Her strengths lie in building trust with her colleagues and clients, delivering results, and creating efficient processes to align with the company’s mission. Her passion and dedication have made her an integral part of the business.

She believes our clients are an extension of the HR NETwork family and genuinely loves assisting them. “It’s a great feeling knowing during critical times, we are able to put their minds at ease and hold their hands through them”.

Outside of work, Michelle enjoys travelling, country music and all things self-development. She has a fur baby named Buddy and loves being outdoors with him as well.

Shannon Martin

Shannon Martin, Senior Human Resource Professional brings over thirty years of human resources experience and expertise from Fortune 500 high-technology and service companies. Shannon has held both HR leadership and consulting roles. She has supported clients across a variety of industries including fiduciary services and investment management, consumer and real estate information, health care, beauty, and a large IT Infrastructure group.

Her scope of experience is broad and progressive and the disciplines she finds to be most rewarding are: Strategic Planning, Organizational Development Leadership Development, Change Management, Performance Management Coaching and Mediation & Conflict Resolution. 

Shannon has “hands-on” experience implementing mergers and acquisitions and building HR Departments. She has completed extensive coursework in communication and excels at building organizational processes that bring cohesion and engagement. She enjoys motivating and mentoring employees to help them achieve increased business performance.  

Shannon holds a Human Resource Management Certificate from UC Irvine.  She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).

Shannon considers herself an HR geek and finds reward when solving a challenge creatively. Shannon earned the Radio Rookie of The Year Award from KBPK, a college station. She also earned the Leadership Award presented by First American Trust Company. A cowgirl at heart, she loves being outside and working with animals of any kind.

Michelle Odell

Michelle Odell is currently a Talent Acquisition and Human Resources Manager with HR Network and has experience ranging from Recruiting, General HR, Employee Relations and Training.  She enjoys helping employees navigate through questions they may have with career development, understanding benefits, policies, or recruitment. 

Michelle has a Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fullerton and majored in Psychology with an emphasis in Human Resources.  She spent some time away from HR Network to recruit for a company bringing them from 5 to 130+ employees.  She was happy to return to HR Network in 2019 and is enjoying being part of the team and learning about new laws and practices. 

Michelle was born and raised in California and has three children, three cats, two dogs, a McCaw, and a husband

Lee Anne Woods

The newest member of our team, Lee Anne Woods is an HR Administrator and has been with HR NETwork for 4 months. She previously worked in Human Resources in the mortgage and banking field, as well as doing secondary marketing for 10 years. Lee Anne decided to join HR NETwork when she realized how rewarding it is to be able to help clients navigate the crazy world of HR! “What I like about HR NETwork is how much we care about our clients, and how much we value learning and growing, so we may give them the most up to date information and trends out there!”

Lee Anne has a husband and two grown daughters. She enjoys travelling around the country and watching her daughters sporting events!

Lorraine Calder

Lorraine Calder has been an HR Manager at HR NETwork for 12 years. Since making a major movie from the UK to the US in 1997, she has enjoyed keeping up with the everchanging CA labor laws. She believes knowledge is a powerful tool to have, and is always happy to share her knowledge and experiences with our clients, along with the many HR trainings we provide. As a people person, Lorraine really enjoys making relationships with our clients, and is happy that our clients and vendors put their trust and confidence in our team. She gets great satisfaction at the end of the workday, knowing that she has achieved something special and values being part of a great and caring team!

Lorraine enjoys spending time with her three grandsons and two granddaughters. “Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it, I am living proof of that.”

Michelle Espinoza

Michelle Espinoza joined the HR NETwork team in 2014 in the capacity of HR Manager and has more than 10 years of progressive management experience in human resources. She is now the senior HR Manager at HR NETwork and leads the HR management team in supporting our clients. 

Her career began in Talent Acquisition where she acquired a strong aptitude in employee relations.  She realized that a lot of companies needed help in navigating through the endless California employment laws and legislation. This led her to transition to Human Resources to focus on helping companies maintain legal compliance.  

Michelle has a keen understanding that business processes are vitally important to any business sector and apply to all types of organizations.  Realizing that the commonality amongst various industries generally results in the same matters led Michelle to what she truly enjoys – strengthening the partnership with our clients in HR matters.  

Michelle holds a B.S in Business Management with an emphasis in Human Resources.  

During her free time, she enjoys fitness, outdoor activities, spending time with family and friends.