On January 9, 2024, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released COVID-19 Isolation Guidance, COVID-19 Testing Guidance, and a State Public Health Officer Order to reflect updates to its testing and isolation guidance that move to a symptom-based exclusion approach.
The updated guidance will allow individuals to follow a more symptom-based approach as they usually do for other illnesses. For example, a child or staff member with COVID-19 can now return to school or a childcare setting if their symptoms are mild and improving and they have had no fever for 24 hours instead of staying home for 5 days. If the student or staff member with COVID-19 never developed symptoms, they may continue to attend school or a childcare setting.
“Infectious period” is now defined as:
- For COVID-19 cases with symptoms, it is a minimum of 24 hours from the day of symptom onset:
- COVID-19 cases may return if 24 hours have passed with no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications, AND
- Their symptoms are mild and improving.
- For COVID-19 cases with no symptoms, there is no infectious period for the purpose of isolation or exclusion. If symptoms develop, the criteria above will apply.
- COVID-19 cases who return to work must wear a face covering indoors for 10 days from the start of symptoms or if the person did not have COVID-19 symptoms, 10 days from the date of their first positive COVID-19 test.