A Worker May Be Sick or Exposed to COVID-19 What is an outbreak and what do I need to report?

Cal/OSHA's emergency temporary standards on COVID-19 prevention define outbreaks and major outbreaks:

  • Outbreak - three or more COVID-19 cases in an "exposed workplace" within a 14-day period or identified as an outbreak by a local health department.
  • Major outbreak - 20 or more COVID-19 cases in an "exposed workplace" within a 30-day period.

An exposed workplace is a work location, working area, or common area used or accessed by a COVID-19 case during the high-risk period. If, within 14 days, three COVID-19 cases share the same exposed workplace, then the Multiple COVID-19 Infections and COVID-19 Outbreaks standard (section 3205.1) applies and additional testing will be required.

  • When determining which areas constitute a single exposed workplace for purposes of enforcing testing requirements, Cal/OSHA does not expect employers to treat areas where masked workers momentarily pass through the same space without interacting or congregating as an "exposed workplace," so they may focus on locations where transmission is more likely.

You must contact the local health department immediately but no longer than 48 hours after you become aware of three or more COVID-19 cases for guidance on preventing the further spread of COVID-19 within the workplace.

You must provide to the local health department the total number of COVID-19 cases and for each COVID-19 case, the name, contact information, occupation, workplace location, business address, the hospitalization and/or fatality status, and North American Industry Classification System code of the workplace of the COVID-19 case, and any other information requested by the local health department. You should continue to give notice to the local health department of any subsequent COVID-19 cases at the workplace.

January 2021