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Worksite exposures: when an employee tests positive for COVID-19

When you learn of a confirmed COVID-19 case at your workplace, identify any contacts who may have been exposed and notify Berkeley Public Health. If three or more employees test positive, notify Berkeley Public Health immediately (within 1 business day).

This page provides a summary of the contact investigation and reporting process. Find detailed instructions in our Worksite Exposure Toolkit for employers.

When notified of a case at your worksite

When you learn an employee has tested positive, perform an investigation, make a list of contacts, and report results to Berkeley Public Health. Review the instructions below, along with our Worksite Exposure Toolkit, for instructions on the reporting process.

  1. Identify who may have been exposed

    When an employee tests positive for COVID-19, you’ll need to perform an investigation to identify anyone who may have been exposed.

    Review the employee’s schedule and work location to determine who they have had close contact with during their infectious period. For the purposes of the investigation:

    • Close contacts: a “close contact” is anyone who was within 6 feet of the infected employee for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
    • Exposure dates
    • If the employee has symptoms of COVID-19, the infectious period begins 2 days before symptoms first appeared
    • If an employee tested positive without symptoms, review their interactions for their last two days at the worksite

    When conducting your investigation, remember to review time spent in shared spaces, such as break rooms, and contact with non-employees, such as customers or vendors.

  2. Report to Public Health

    Report all exposures via the Shared Portal for Outbreak Tracing (SPOT). Be sure to select Berkeley as the Local Health Jurisdiction.

    Once entered someone from City of Berkeley will respond via email or phone within 1 business day.

  3. Notify employees

    Notify any employees you have identified as potentially being exposed. Anyone who is symptomatic, unvaccinated, or vaccinated and booster eligible but have not yet received their booster dose, should be instructed to quarantine at home for at least 5 days after the last exposure to the infected employee. All potentially exposed employees should be instructed to get tested. Refer to the Cal/OSHA FAQ's for specific information regarding isolation and quarantine criteria. The City has prepared a template you can use for this letter.

    Do not disclose the name of the employee who has tested positive.

  4. Provide testing opportunities

    You are required by Cal/OSHA to offer COVID-19 testing during working hours to employees who had a potential COVID-19 exposure. This testing must be available to employees at no cost.

Outbreaks (3 or more cases)

If you learn of 3 or more confirmed cases among employees, contact us immediately and arrange for testing for all employees.

Report all exposures via the Shared Portal for Outbreak Tracing (SPOT) then call (510) 981-5292 or email with the subject line “Berkeley Worksite Exposure - possible outbreak.”

Berkeley Public Health will ask for the following information. Please have as much of this available as possible when you report - but do not delay reporting an outbreak if you are missing any of these documents:

  • Layout of your worksite and the location where the infected employee works
  • List of employees exposed and their vaccination status

A Berkeley Public Health investigator will contact you and provide guidance on next steps, including possible site closure.

Refer to Cal/OSHA for additional recommendations and guidance.


Last updated January 20, 2022

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