On August 11, 2022, the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) updated and further loosened COVID-19 guidelines. A summary of the guidelines demonstrate the shift in the CDC’s focus to avoid transmitting severe illness, as opposed to trying to avoid transmission of COVID-19 altogether. The CDC continues to emphasize the importance of vaccination, testing, masking, and other preventative measures. While many of the CDC’s past recommendations remain the same, there are some new changes that California employers should be aware of when trying to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in the workplace.
The first notable change in the CDC guidelines is there is no longer a material distinction between those who are vaccinated and boosted, with those who are unvaccinated. However, it remains unclear as to whether State and County guidelines will follow suit. Additionally, the CDC no longer advises six feet of social distancing or isolating when one has been exposed to the virus but is not exhibiting any symptoms. Thus, if an employee has been exposed to COVID-19 but has not experienced symptoms, they may come to the workplace, unless your company policy or local ordinance explicitly prohibits this.
Another change within the CDC’s most recent guidelines is that the CDC will no longer apply specific recommendations for schools. Each school or district may apply rules and guidelines as they see fit, with respect to testing and isolation.
Furthermore, the CDC has become more relaxed with its view on contact tracing. The CDC now advises that contact tracing be limited to high-risk group living areas such as hospitals, nursing homes, and prisons. Regular testing for situations unlike those listed above is unnecessary.
The CDC remains firm on its view that those who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms should Isolate for at least five days and wear a mask for ten days. However, there is no longer any requirement that one must test negative in order to leave isolation. Finally, individuals with moderate symptoms such as trouble with breathing and persistent pain or pressure on the chest cavity, should isolate for at least ten days as opposed to the standard five days.
A copy of the new CDC guidance can be accessed by clicking here.