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Occupational health branch

August 2022 Occupational Health Watch

New Workplace Outbreak Publication and Resource Guide

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, workplaces have been impacted by COVID-19, with higher rates seen in certain industries compared to others. Since January 1, 2021, employer reporting of workplace COVID-19 outbreaks has been mandated under state law. The law also requires the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to publicly report numbers of outbreaks and outbreak-associated cases by industry.

A recently published article in the American Journal of Public Health highlights the workplaces most affected by COVID-19 outbreaks in California. Utilizing U.S. Census industry codes, Occupational Health Branch (OHB) investigators categorized by industry COVID-19 outbreaks that were reported to CDPH from January 1, 2020, to August 31, 2021.

Guidance cover pageOHB investigators found that the most outbreaks and outbreak-associated cases occurred in the healthcare and social assistance sector, with the highest outbreak incidence levels seen in skilled nursing and residential care facilities. High numbers of outbreaks also occurred in retail and manufacturing sectors.

OHB has also developed a resource guide (PDF) to help employers understand the steps they can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to respond quickly and appropriately to COVID-19 cases and outbreaks identified in the workplace. The guide includes 9 key components of workplace outbreak management to keep workplaces safe from outbreaks. 


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