The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued new guidance on COVID-19 isolation and testing for health care workers: Health care workers who are exposed to COVID-19 and are asymptomatic can now return to work immediately without quarantining and testing, and those who test positive and are asymptomatic may return to work immediately without isolation and without testing.
Both groups will be required to wear an N-95 mask and avoid other health care workers when possible.
The CDPH has now aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on shortened duration of COVID-19 isolation and testing for health care workers.
Local health departments will have the option to implement more protective procedures and follow prior guidance for a 10-day isolation period, a letter sent to all health facilities said.
The change in the return-to-work criteria for health care professionals is due to the staffing shortage seen across the health care industry fueled by the rise of the omicron variant.
This guidance will be effective from Jan. 8 through Feb. 1.
The new guidance takes effect as the Newsom administration seeks $2.7 billion to battle the pandemic.
The $2.7 billion in funding will help expand testing efforts, increase vaccination efforts and battle misinformation.
Officials said $1.4 billion of the new funding will be sought immediately, before the beginning of the new fiscal year, which starts on July 1.