10.26.2022 | COVID-19

COVID-19 Definition of “Close Contact” Amended

By Shawn M. Joost

The California Department of Public Health amended the definition of a “close contact” for COVID-19 exposure with a new order issued October 13, 2022. The amended definition provides additional clarity on the June 2022 change to defining exposure based on shared indoor air space, with standards for larger and smaller spaces.

Employers should read the entire order. But, the new definition of close contact is:

“Close Contact” means the following:

In indoor spaces 400,000 or fewer cubic feet per floor (such as home, clinic waiting room, airplane etc.), a close contact is defined as sharing the same indoor airspace for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three separate 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes) during an infected person’s (confirmed by COVID-19 test or clinical diagnosis) infectious period.

In large indoor spaces greater than 400,000 cubic feet per floor (such as open-floor-plan offices, warehouses, large retail stores, manufacturing, or food processing facilities), a close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of the infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period during the infected person’s infectious period.

Spaces that are separated by floor-to-ceiling walls (e.g., offices, suites, rooms, waiting areas, bathrooms, or break or eating areas that are separated by floor-to-ceiling walls) must be considered distinct indoor airspaces.


Related practice team: Labor and Employment

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