CDPH Issues Updated COVID-19 Isolation and Exposure Guidance

January 25, 2024 – On January 9, 2024, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released new Coronavirus (COVID-19) isolation and exposure guidance.  This guidance is intended to support individuals returning to normal activities sooner.  The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has concurrently adopted these guidelines as the rules for most California workplaces.


  1. Stay home if you have COVID-19 symptoms, until you have not had a fever for 24 hours without using fever reducing medication, AND other COVID-19 symptoms are mild and improving.  If you do not have symptoms, you should follow the recommendations below to reduce exposure to others, but you do not need to isolate.
  2. Mask when you are around other people indoors for the 10 days* after you become sick or test positive (if no symptoms) for COVID-19.  You may remove your mask sooner than 10 days if you have two sequential negative tests at least one day apart.  Day 0 is symptom onset date or positive test date.
  3. Avoid contact with people at higher-risk for severe COVID-19 for 10 days*.  Higher-risk individuals include the elderly, those who live in congregate care facilities, and those who have immunocompromising conditions that put them at higher risk for serious illness.
  4. Seek treatment.  If you have symptoms, particularly if you are at higher risk for severe COVID-19, speak with a healthcare provider as soon as you test positive as you may be eligible for antiviral medicines or other treatments.  COVID-19 antiviral medicines work best if taken as soon as possible, and within 5-7 days from when symptoms start.  Call (833) 422-4255 if you are unable to contact a healthcare provider, or use the treatment options to find one.


  • If you have new COVID-19 symptoms, test and mask right away.
  • If you do not have symptoms, and are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 infection and would benefit from treatment, you should test within 5 days.
  • If you do not have symptoms and have contact with people who are at higher risk for severe infection, you should mask indoors when around such people for 10 days.  Consider testing within 5 days after the last exposure date (Day 0) and before contact with higher-risk people.  For further details, see CDPH’S COVID-19 testing guidance.


In the workplace, employers are subject to the  Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Non-Emergency Regulations,  or in some workplaces the  Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard and should consult those regulations for additional applicable requirements.  In certain healthcare situations or settings and other covered facilities, services and operations, surgical masks or respirators are required.

Note that this guidance relies upon people being willing to test for COVID-19 and to wear masks if they are positive in order to protect others.  Masks vary in their effectiveness, and all masks must be worn properly and consistently in order to reduce the chances of spreading COVID-19.  See the CDC’s Use and Care of Masks information.

Click here for additional background on the revised guidance, which now differs from CDC’s isolation guidance, and some perspective from Mono County Health Officer Tom Boo, MD.

*The potential infectious period is 2 days before the date of symptoms began or the positive test date (if no symptoms) through Day 10. (Day 0 is the symptom onset date or positive test date).