CDPH Updates Quarantine Guidance – Again

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The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) revised its quarantine and isolation guidelines for a second time in as many weeks through a new All Facilities Letter (AFL) that takes effect today. Earlier guidance was aligned with recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, which permitted — in the event of critical staffing shortages — unvaccinated health care personnel to return to work after five days of isolation and a recent diagnostic test.

The latest AFL on quarantine and isolation guidance, AFL 21-08.7, waives the earlier guidance on isolation and quarantine periods and permits asymptomatic health care personnel who were exposed to or contract COVID-19 to return to work without a quarantine or isolation period. Health care personnel returning to work without a quarantine or isolation period must wear an N95 respirator for source control.

The AFL also requires hospitals that are shortening quarantine and isolation periods to make every attempt to bring in additional registry or contract staff; they must also have considered modifications to non-essential procedures.

The AFL also states that health care personnel on a shortened isolation or quarantine period should be assigned to work with COVID-19-positive patients, but acknowledges that this may not be possible in all settings, such as an emergency room. The shortened quarantine and isolation periods permitted under AFL 21-08.7 are in effect from Jan. 8 to Jan. 21, 2022, although the AFL also provides Feb. 1 as a potential ending date. CHA will seek clarification from CDPH the AFL’s end date and provide further information through CHA News.