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Employers are required to investigate and respond to any COVID-19 cases in the workplace. The following DPH guidelines are intended to support employers responding to COVID-19 cases identified in non-healthcare settings. For a summary of best practices to enhance safety in workplaces see LAC DPH Best Practices to Prevent COVID-19: Guidance for Businesses and Employers.

Employers are subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations or, in some workplaces, the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard. For additional information, review the COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations FAQs.

Reporting COVID-19 Cases

The County Health Officer Order requires employers to report any cluster of worksite COVID-19 cases within 24 hours. A cluster is when three (3) or more linked cases of COVID-19 among an exposed group of workers (employees, assigned or contracted workers, or volunteers) are known or reported at the worksite within a 7-day period. For large workplaces with more than 100 on-site workers, employers must also report when 5% of the workers are COVID-19 cases within a 7-day period, even if they are unlinked.

Report to LAC DPH online.

Once LAC DPH receives a cluster report, we will initiate a response to determine the risk of worksite transmission based on number of cases, their work location and duties, how/if the cases interacted with each other and if they share a household or carpool with each other.

If the cluster meets worksite outbreak criteria, a public health case manager will be assigned to help guide the worksite response which includes providing infection control recommendations, workplace exclusion guidance, technical support, and site-specific COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

For assistance with reporting, please review our reporting resources:

For additional assistance with reporting, contact communityoutbreak@ph.lacounty.gov or call 1-888-397-3993.

Responding to COVID-19 in the Workplace

Employers should have procedures in place for seeking information from employees related to COVID-19 cases and close contacts in the workplace. This includes collecting and keeping records of all COVID-19 cases: the employee's name, contact information, their date of symptom onset, COVID-19 testing dates and results, last date present at workplace and their workplace locations and duties. This information must be provided to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and Cal/OSHA, immediately upon request.

Once a COVID-19 case is identified at the workplace, the employer must:

  • If the individual is symptomatic, immediately exclude the case from the workplace until they meet all return to work criteria (see Exclusion Requirements and Return to Work below).
  • If the case is asymptomatic, exclusion is not required. The employer must ensure the case wears a well-fitting mask while around others indoors for 10 days after becoming sick.
  • Determine who may have been a close contact to the case at the workplace. This includes assessing the case’s activities and workplace locations while they were infectious.
  • Inform anyone who may have had close contact with the positive cases (and their authorized representatives) in the workplace of exposure within 1 business day in a manner that does not reveal the case’s personal information. Provide instructions regarding the recommendations to mask, test, and monitor their health (see Table 2).
  • Identify and correct COVID-19 hazards. See Cal/OSHA FAQs for steps to reduce future workplace exposures to COVID-19.
  • Report any cluster of worksite cases within 24 hours. Report online or by phone: 1-888-397-3993. See Reporting COVID-19 Cases for more information.
Exclusion Requirements and Return to Work

The following exclusion and return to work requirements are for employees in non-healthcare settings. For printable versions of these tables, click here.

For healthcare workers please refer to COVID-19 Infection Prevention Guidance for Healthcare Personnel.

Table 1: Exclusion and Return to Work Requirements for Employeesi with COVID-19

Persons with COVID-19

 Exclusion Requirements

Masking Requirements

If the case is symptomatic

Employee must be excluded from the workplace until:

  1. The employee has been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medication, AND
  2. Other symptoms are not present, or symptoms are mild and improving.

Employee mustii wear a well-fitting mask around others through Day 10iii whether symptomatic or asymptomatic.

  • Employers must provide the masks at no expense to the employee and ensure that they are worn. See Cal/OSHA standards 3205(f)(1).
  • Upon employee request, Employers must provide NIOSH-approved respirators (e.g., N95 masks) to all employees who are working indoors or in vehicles with more than one person. See Cal/OSHA FAQs for additional details.

If the case is asymptomatic

Exclusion is NOT required unless employee develops symptoms.

Employee must follow the full instructions for people with COVID-19 detailed in the LAC DPH Guidelines for COVID-19 Cases and Close Contacts.
Employer must follow all requirements outlined in the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Non-Emergency Regulations.

iInfected healthcare personnel—see Work Restrictions for HCP with COVID-19.
iiSee Cal/OSHA standards 3205(f)(2) for masking exceptions.
iiiTo count the days:

  • For symptomatic employees: Day 1 is the first full day after symptoms developed.
  • For employees without symptoms: Day 1 is the first full day after the positive test was collected.

Table 2. Employees1 that are Close Contacts [Non-Outbreak Setting2]
Persons with Close Contact Exposure to Someone with COVID-19 Recommended Actions
These actions apply to all asymptomatic employees that are identified as workplace close contacts, regardless of vaccination status.
Employee should wear a well-fitting mask around others indoors for a total of 10 days* after their last close contact.

Employers should provide the masks at no expense to the employee. Note: Upon employee request, Employers must provide NIOSH-approved respirators (e.g., N95 masks) to all employees who are working indoors or in vehicles with more than one person. See Cal/OSHA FAQs for additional details.

Consider sharing with workers the LAC DPH flyer Protect Yourself From COVID-19 in the Workplace: Know Which Masks Provide the Best Protection.

Employee should test within 3-5 days* after their last close contact with the case unless they have recently recovered from COVID-19.

  • If they test positive, they must follow the guidance in Table 1.

Employee should monitor their health for 10 days.*

If symptoms develop, exclude the employee from the workplace pending COVID-19 test results.

  • If they test positive or their doctor diagnoses them with COVID-19, they must be excluded from the workplace and follow Table 1.
  • If the employee tests negative and returns to work, the employee should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others indoors for 10 days following the close contact.
    • Note: if symptoms persist, CDPH recommends considering continuing self-isolation and retesting in 1-2 days if testing negative with an antigen test, particularly if tested during the first 1-2 days of symptoms.
  • For symptomatic employees who have tested positive within the previous 90 days, an antigen test is recommended.


*Day 1 is the first full day after their last exposure.

1 Exposed healthcare personnel—see Asymptomatic Healthcare Personnel with Exposures.
2 These recommendations are for non-outbreak settings only. During outbreaks, additional requirements will be applicable and guided by public health investigation.


Cal/OSHA states that employers must offer testing at no cost to employees during paid time:

  • To employees who had a close contact at work, with an exception for symptom-free employees who recently recovered from COVID-19 (returned cases);
  • During an outbreak, to all employees within an exposed group, at least once or twice per week depending on the magnitude of the outbreak, except for employees who were not at work during the relevant period and symptom-free employees who recently recovered from COVID-19 (returned cases); and
  • When following CDPH and local Health Department Isolation and Quarantine Guidance to keep employees working or return them sooner, if tested.

Employers must provide testing in a manner that ensures employee confidentiality.

Testing Resources

  • Employers must inform all employees on how they can obtain COVID-19 testing. This could be through the employer, local health department, the federal government, a health plan or at a community testing site.
  • Cal/OSHA Test FAQs
  • LAC DPH COVID-19-How to Get a Test
Additional Information



See the LAC DPH COVID-19 website for additional resources related to COVID-19.

Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.

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