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CDPH Changes the Definition of “Outbreak” and Masking Recommendations

by Jennifer Shaw | | July 3, 2023

On June 20, 2023, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) revised its COVID-19 Public Health Officer Order for COVID-19 Disease Control & Prevention.  The Agency changed the definition of “outbreak” in non-health care settings, and provided updated guidance on masking. To reflect the changes, the CDPH also updated its “Public Health Order Questions and Answers: COVID-19 Disease Control and Prevention.”


Previously, the CDPH defined an “outbreak” as three or more COVID-19 cases among employees in an exposed group within a 14-day period. The new “outbreak” definition requires “at least three COVID-19 cases within an exposed group during a seven-day period.” This update affects COVID-19 rules related to testing, recordkeeping and masking.

Because the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations incorporate the CDPH’s definition of outbreak, Cal/OSHA updated their Frequently Asked Questions to reflect the new CDPH guidance.


On May 19, 2023, the CDPH recommended that employers follow the guidance in its new “Get The Most Out of Masking” resource — replacing the previous “COVID-19 Guidance for Face Masking.”  The CDPH still recommends the following individuals wear mask:

  • Anyone with respiratory symptoms
  • Anyone with exposure to another person who has tested positive for COVID-19 (mask for 10 days)
  • Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19


Time to take another look at your COVID-19 procedures…

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