Los Angeles County Modifies Quarantine Requirement for Asymptomatic Close Contacts in the General Public

Los Angeles–Los Angeles County Public Health has updated the Quarantine Order to modify the quarantine requirement for asymptomatic close contacts in the general public. 

The updated order was effective at 12:01 am last Friday, April 15.

Regardless of vaccination status or recent history with a prior infection, asymptomatic close contacts who are not living or working in a high-risk setting, are not required to quarantine, provided they wear a highly protective mask when indoors around others, for a total of 10 days after the last contact with a person infected with COVID-19, and they test as soon as possible (at least within three to five days after their last exposure) to determine their infection status. If they test positive, they must follow Public Health’s isolation requirements.

They also must monitor themselves for 10 days following their exposure. If symptoms develop, they must test and stay home away from others and follow Public Health isolation requirements if they test positive.

Residents living in high-risk settings, including healthcare facilities, shelters, correctional facilities and adult care facilities, who are close contacts to COVID-19 cases, and are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, and have not been infected with COVID-19 within the prior 90 days, will need to continue to follow, at minimum, the existing quarantine orders requiring a minimum period of five days of quarantine, the requirement for negative test to exit quarantine after day five and the requirement to mask for the full duration of the quarantine period.

The updated Quarantine Order also outlines requirements for staff in high-risk settings who were exposed to COVID-19 and are either unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated and have not been infected with COVID-19 within the prior 90 days. Staff should exclude themselves from work for at least five days after their last exposure. If permitted by their employer, their work exclusion can end after Day 5 five if symptoms are not present, and if a diagnostic specimen collected on Day 5 or later tests negative. If staff are unable to test or choose not to test, and symptoms are not present, their work exclusion can end after Day 10. Staff must wear a highly protective mask, around others, especially indoors, for a total of 10 days after the last contact with a person infected with COVID-19.

Note that administrators of these high-risk settings have the discretion to implement more protective measures that those required in the County Quarantine Order.

In addition to updating the quarantine requirements, the order revised the definition of close contact for the general public to match the State’s guidance. A “close contact” is defined as someone sharing the same indoor airspace, e.g., home, clinic waiting room, airplane, etc., for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes) during an infected person’s (laboratory-confirmed or clinical diagnosis) infectious period.