The California Division of Safety and Health issued new workplace rules that went into effect on Friday as the surge in Covid-19 positive cases and hospitalizations continues.
The new rules enforced by the division, also known as Cal/OSHA, highlights who gets sent home upon exposure, testing and masking protocols.
Employers are required to provide it’s employees at no cost during paid time regardless of their vaccination status if an outbreak occurs at work. Tests are required to be administered at a lab, by a medical professional or employer. With this requirement, self-administered or “at-home” test kits aren't accepted.
As of Dec.15, vaccinated asymptomatic people would have needed to be sent home from work unless they wore a mask and maintained 6 feet of distance from others for two weeks. CAL/OSHA updated their guidance surrounding isolation and quarantine before the new rule went into effect.
Additionally, the new rules define what an acceptable mask would be if workers choose to wear a fabric mask rather than a surgical or medical one. The guidance states fabric masks need to be sufficiently thick and tightly woven to not let light pass through it when held up to a light source.
State law requires that employers send their employees home and maintain their usual pay until they meet the return to work criteria established by the California Department of Public Health. Employers aren't currently required to offer additional sick leave for Covid-19 as a general policy.
These workplace rules come as Covid-19 case rates and hospitalizations reach unprecedented levels in the state and throughout the county.
San Diego County has reported 9,878 new Covid-19 infections and five additional deaths on Friday. A total of 40,017 new tests were reported within the county’s report, which shows a testing positivity rate of 28.9 percent, up from 28.8 percent on Thursday.
This brings the cumulative totals to 568,212 cases and 4,545 deaths
since the pandemic began according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.
Covid-19 related hospitalizations in San Diego County increased by 43 to 1,223 Saturday, according to state data. Of those patients, 181 were in intensive care and the number of available beds declined by six to 164.
Many patents are hospitalized for different reasons and discover their Covid-19 status through hospital mandated tests.
The most recent state figures show the number of Covid-19 hospitalizations surged in a month from 354 to 1,180.
County health officials report about 89.4 percent of San Diegans, accounting for over 2.81 million of those eligible, have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 2.49 million or 79 percent, are fully vaccinated.
A cumulative total of 906,615 San Diegans have received booster shots to date.
The CDC recommends a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot five months after the second dose.A Johnson & Johnson booster is recommended two months after the second dose.
Pfizer boosters have been approved for everyone 12 years and older. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters are only available for adults 18 years and older.