COVID-19 Workplace Exposures

Employer Resources for Workplace Exposures, Reporting and Outbreak Management

The County of Nevada County Public Health Division recognizes that our community, including employers, plays an important role in protecting public health. These tools provide guidance on notifying employees of an exposure and help identify workplace exposures. The County greatly appreciates the work of local businesses in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

This guidance is not intended for use in managing or preventing outbreaks in healthcare, congregate living settings, or other workplaces where the California Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) standard applies.

COVID Workplace Outbreak Reporting

If an employer has three or more cases in a 14-day period, this is considered a workplace outbreak and requires reporting via the secure SPOT Intake Form.

COVID-19 Workplace Exposure Employer Toolkit

Step 1: Isolate positive individual and sanitize

When an employee tests positive for COVID-19, the employee should be sent home immediately to isolate away from other individuals. The employee should be directed to follow the CDPH Guidance on Isolation and Quarantine. Also, let the employee know that they can contact Dial 2-1-1 if additional resources are needed to successfully isolate.  

Clean/disinfect workplace where employee(s) with COVID-19 have been at work. Refer to the California Department of Public Health's Workplace Guidance for info on cleaning/disinfecting.

Step 2: Follow the steps laid out in the State of California's Workplace Guidance

Review and follow the steps laid out in CDPH's Responding to COVID-19 in the Workplace for Employers guidance.

Employers are required by law (AB 685) to report any workplace outbreaks to the local health department via the SPOT Intake Form (Step 4 below). An outbreak is three or more cases in a 14-day period. Here is an FAQ for employer questions on AB 685.

Step 3: Identify and Notify Workplace Close Contacts

The employer must identify and notify all close contacts of the positive person about quarantine requirements. See Responding to COVID-19 in the Workplace for Employers for detail on this process. A “close contact” is defined as someone who was sharing the same indoor airspace, e.g., home, clinic waiting room, airplane, etc., for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes) during an infected person's (laboratory-confirmed or a clinical diagnosis) infectious period.

Maintain Confidentiality: Employers should keep employees’ medical information confidential in accordance with federal and state laws. Do not disclose the identity of the COVID-19 positive worker in your effort to identify close contacts. Please consult with your attorney if you have any questions about applicable employment or privacy laws.

Close contacts need to follow the CDPH Guidance on Isolation and Quarantine

Step 4: Notify Nevada County Public Health

If your business has a three or more cases in a 14 day period, that is considered a workplace outbreak. This includes if an employee is nearing the end of their 10-day isolation period, AND you have two more employees receive positive test results, you have three cases with in that 14 day period.

Workplace outbreaks must be reported using the SPOT Intake Form.

After you complete the SPOT Intake, Public Health will review your information and contact you if additional detail is required.

Step 5: Determine when it is appropriate for positive individuals to come back to work.

Employees who test positive must follow the guidance below regardless of vaccination status, previous infection or lack of       symptoms.

  • Stay home for at least 5 days. 
  • Isolation can end after day 5 if symptoms are not present or are resolving and a diagnostic specimen* collected on day 5 or later tests negative.
  • If unable to test or choosing not to test, and symptoms are not present or are resolving, isolation can end after day 10.
  • If fever is present, isolation should be continued until fever resolves. 
  • If symptoms, other than fever, are not resolving continue to isolate until symptoms are resolving or until after day 10.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings (see Section below on masking for additional information)

*Antigen test preferred.

Step 6: Maintain a safe work environment

Do not allow employees to come to work or remain at work if they have any COVID-like symptoms

Please know that it is not recommended for people who test positive for COVID to retest for the next 90 days as people can continue to test positive for up to 3 months and not be infectious to others. The latest data suggests that retesting someone in the three months following initial infection is not necessary unless that person is exhibiting the symptoms of COVID-19 and the symptoms cannot be associated with another illness.  Once the isolation period has ended, people are not considered infectious and can return to work, school, and/or other activities without a negative test.  

 Additional CDC Guidance

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, and should consult those regulations for additional applicable requirements except as noted below and in Cal/OSHA FAQs.

Employers and employees can find information about COVID-19 related worker benefits and employer labor laws on the California Labor & Workforce COVID-19 Resources for Employers and Workers webpage.

Still Have Questions?

For questions about how to get a COVID test, general questions about COVID-19, or questions about general COVID guidelines, contact 211 by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-833-DIAL211. Free COVID tests can be scheduled via LHI OptumServe. More testing resources here.

If you have additional questions related to workplace exposures after reviewing these materials, contact Nevada County Public Health at COVIDworkexp@co.nevada.ca.us, or call 530-388-6461 (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) and 530-470-2428 (Tuesdays and Thursdays). Do not email any individual health information or names of employees who may be positive. We will do our best to get back to you within one business day.