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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 16. Labor And Employment
Agency 25. Safety And Health Codes Board
Chapter 220. Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus that Causes COVID-19

16VAC25-220-30. Definitions.

The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Administrative control" means any procedure that significantly limits daily exposure to SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 disease related workplace hazards and job tasks by control or manipulation of the work schedule or manner in which work is performed. The use of personal protective equipment is not considered a means of administrative control.

"Aerosol-generating procedure" means a medical procedure that generates aerosols that can be infectious and are of respirable size. Only the following medical procedures are considered aerosol-generating procedures: open suctioning of airways; sputum induction; cardiopulmonary resuscitation; endotracheal intubation and extubation; non-invasive ventilation (e.g., BiPAP, CPAP); bronchoscopy; manual ventilation; medical/surgical/postmortem procedures using oscillating bone saws; and dental procedures involving: ultrasonic scalers; high-speed dental handpieces; air/water syringes; air polishing; and air abrasion.

"Airborne infection isolation room" or "AIIR" means a dedicated negative pressure patient-care room, with special air handling capability, that is used to isolate persons with a suspected or confirmed airborne-transmissible infectious disease. AIIRs include both permanent rooms and temporary structures (e.g., a booth, tent, or other enclosure designed to operate under negative pressure).

"Ambulatory care" means health care services performed on an outpatient basis, without admission to a hospital or other facility. It is provided in settings such as offices of physicians and other health care professionals; hospital outpatient departments; ambulatory surgical centers; specialty clinics or centers (e.g., dialysis, infusion, medical imaging); and urgent care clinics. Ambulatory care does not include home health care settings.

"ASTM" means American Society for Testing and Materials.

"Asymptomatic" means a person who does not have symptoms.

"Building or facility owner" means the legal entity, including a lessee, that exercises control over management and recordkeeping functions relating to a building or facility in which activities covered by this chapter take place.

"CDC" means Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Cleaning" means the removal of dirt and impurities, including germs, from surfaces using soap and water or other cleaning agents. Cleaning alone reduces germs on surfaces by removing contaminants and may also weaken or damage some of the virus particles, which decreases risk of infection from surfaces.

"Community transmission," also called "community spread," means people have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

The level of community transmission may be obtained from the VDH website and is assessed using, at a minimum, two metrics: (i) new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 persons in the last seven days and (ii) the percentage of positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic nucleic acid amplification tests in the last seven days. For each of these metrics, CDC classifies transmission values as low, moderate, substantial, or high. If the values for each of these two metrics differ (e.g., one indicates moderate and the other low), then the higher of the two should be used for decision-making.

CDC core indicators of and thresholds for community transmission levels of SARS-CoV-2:

Indicator Level





New COVID-19 cases per 100,000 persons in the last 7 days





Percentage of positive SARS-Co-V-2 diagnostic nucleic acid amplification tests in the last 7 days





"Confirmed COVID-19" means a person, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, who has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and the employer knew or with reasonable diligence should have known that the person has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

"COVID-19" means Coronavirus Disease 2019, which is primarily a respiratory disease, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

"COVID-19 positive and confirmed COVID-19" refer to a person who has a confirmed positive test for, or who has been diagnosed by a licensed health care provider with, COVID-19.

"COVID-19 test" means a test for SARS-CoV-2 that is:

1. Cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or is authorized by an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA to diagnose current infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus; and

2. Administered in accordance with the FDA clearance or approval or the FDA EUA as applicable.

"Disinfecting" means using chemicals approved for use against SARS-CoV-2 virus, for example EPA-registered disinfectants, or non-EPA-registered disinfectants that otherwise meet the EPA criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2 virus, to kill germs on surfaces. The process of disinfecting does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but killing germs remaining on a surface after cleaning further reduces any risk of spreading infection.

"Duration and frequency of employee exposure" means how long ("duration") and how often ("frequency") an employee is potentially exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus or COVID-19 disease. Generally, the greater the frequency or length of time of the exposure, the greater the probability is for potential infection to occur. Frequency of exposure is generally more significant for acute acting agents or situations, while duration of exposure is generally more significant for chronic acting agents or situations. An example of an acute SARS-CoV-2 virus or COVID-19 disease situation could involve a customer, patient, or other person who is not fully vaccinated not wearing a face covering or personal protective equipment or coughing or sneezing directly into the face of an employee. An example of a chronic situation could involve a job task that requires an employee who is not fully vaccinated to interact either for an extended period of time inside six feet with a smaller static group of other employees or persons or for an extended period of time inside six feet with a larger group of other employees or persons in succession but for periods of shorter duration.

"Economic feasibility" means the employer is financially able to undertake the measures necessary to comply with one or more requirements in this chapter. The cost of corrective measures to be taken will not usually be considered as a factor in determining whether a violation of this chapter has occurred. If an employer's level of compliance lags significantly behind that of its industry, an employer's claim of economic infeasibility will not support a VOSH decision to decline to take enforcement action.

"Elastomeric respirator" means a tight-fitting respirator with a facepiece that is made of synthetic or rubber material that permits it to be disinfected, cleaned, and reused according to manufacturer's instructions. It is equipped with a replaceable cartridge, canister, or filter.

"Elimination" means a method of exposure control that removes the employee completely from exposure to SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 disease related workplace hazards and job tasks.

"Employee" means an employee of an employer who is employed in a business of his employer. Reference to the term "employee" in this chapter also includes, but is not limited to, temporary employees and other joint employment relationships, persons in supervisory or management positions with the employer, etc., in accordance with Virginia occupational safety and health laws, standards, regulations, and court rulings.

"Engineering control" means the use of substitution, isolation, ventilation, and equipment modification to reduce exposure to SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 disease related workplace hazards and job tasks.

"Face covering" means an item made of two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric that fits snugly against the sides of the face without any gaps, completely covering the nose and mouth and fitting securely under the chin. Neck gaiters made of two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric, or folded to make two such layers are considered acceptable face coverings. Nonmedical disposable masks for single use that otherwise meet the definition of "face covering" in this chapter, with the exception that they are not washable, are permissible to use as face coverings. Face coverings shall not have exhalation valves or vents, which allow virus particles to escape, and shall not be made of material that makes it hard to breathe, such as vinyl. A face covering is not a surgical mask or respirator. A face covering is not subject to testing and approval by a state or federal government agency, so it is not considered a form of personal protective equipment or respiratory protection equipment under VOSH laws, rules, regulations, and standards. Notwithstanding any other provisions in this definition, face coverings approved as having met ASTM standards for face coverings effective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus shall be considered to be in compliance with this chapter.

"Facemask" means a surgical, medical procedure, dental, or isolation mask that is FDA-cleared, authorized by an FDA EUA, or offered or distributed as described in an FDA enforcement policy. Facemasks may also be referred to as "medical procedure masks."

"Face shield" means a device, typically made of clear plastic, that:

1. Is certified to ANSI/ISEA Z87.1; or

2. Covers the wearer's eyes, nose, and mouth to protect from splashes, sprays, and spatter of body fluids, wraps around the sides of the wearer's face (i.e., temple-to-temple), and extends below the wearer's chin.

"Feasible" as used in this chapter includes both technical and economic feasibility.

"Filtering facepiece respirator" means a negative pressure air purifying particulate respirator with a filter as an integral part of the facepiece or with the entire facepiece composed of the filtering medium. Filtering facepiece respirators are certified for use by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

"Fully vaccinated" means a person is considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 more than or equal to two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series, or more than or equal to two weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine, provided such vaccine has been FDA-approved, or authorized by an FDA EUA, or authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO).

"Hand sanitizer" means an alcohol-based hand rub containing at least 60% alcohol, unless otherwise provided for in this chapter.

"HIPAA" means Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

"Health care services" mean services that are provided to individuals by professional health care practitioners (e.g., doctors, nurses, emergency medical personnel, oral health professionals) for the purpose of promoting, maintaining, monitoring, or restoring health. Health care services are delivered through various means including hospitalization, longterm care, ambulatory care, home health and hospice care, emergency medical response, and patient transport. Health care services include autopsies.

"Health care support services" mean services that facilitate the provision of health care services. Health care support services include patient intake or admission, patient food services, equipment and facility maintenance, housekeeping services, health care laundry services, medical waste handling services, and medical equipment cleaning or reprocessing services.

"Occupational exposure" means the state of being actually or potentially exposed to contact with SARS-CoV-2 virus or COVID-19 disease related hazards at the work location or while engaged in work activities at another location.

"Otherwise at-risk" means a person whose ability to have a full immune response to vaccination may have been affected by certain conditions, such as a prior transplant, as well as prolonged use of corticosteroids or other immune-weakening medications.

"Personal protective equipment" or "PPE" means equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. These injuries and illnesses may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, biological, or other workplace hazards. Personal protective equipment for actual or potential exposure to SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 exposure may include, but is not limited to, gloves, safety glasses, goggles, respirators, surgical masks, facemasks, impermeable gowns or coveralls, face shields, vests, and full body suits.

"Physical distancing" also called "social distancing" means a person keeping space between himself and other persons while conducting work-related activities inside and outside of the physical establishment by staying at least six feet from other persons. Physical separation of an employee from other employees or persons by a permanent, solid floor to ceiling wall (e.g., an office setting) constitutes one form of physical distancing from an employee or other person stationed on the other side of the wall, provided that six feet of travel distance is maintained from others around the edges or sides of the wall as well.

"Powered air-purifying respirator" or "PAPR" means an air-purifying respirator that uses a blower to force the ambient air through air-purifying elements to the inlet covering.

"Respirator" means a

type of PPE that is certified by NIOSH under 42 CFR Part 84 or is authorized under an EUA by the FDA. Respirators protect against airborne hazards by removing specific air contaminants from the ambient (surrounding) air or by supplying breathable air from a safe source. Common types of respirators include filtering facepiece respirators, elastomeric respirators, and PAPRs. Face coverings, facemasks, and face shields are not respirators.

"Respirator user" means an employee who in the scope of their current job may be assigned to tasks that may require the use of a respirator in accordance with this chapter or required by other provisions in the VOSH and OSHA standards.

"SARS-CoV-2" means the novel virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19. Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surfaces.

"Severely immunocompromised" means a seriously weakened immune system that lowers the body's ability to fight infection and may increase the risk of getting severely sick from SARS-CoV-2, from being on chemotherapy for cancer, being within one year out from receiving a hematopoietic stem cell or solid organ transplant, untreated HIV infection with CD4 T lymphocyte count less than 200, combined primary immunodeficiency disorder, and receipt of prednisone greater than 20mg per day for more than 14 days. The degree of immunocompromise is determined by the treating provider, and preventive actions are tailored to each individual and situation.

"Signs of COVID-19" are medical conditions that can be objectively observed and may include fever, cough, shortness of breath or trouble breathing , vomiting, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone, etc.

"Surgical mask" means a mask that covers the user's nose and mouth and provides a physical barrier to fluids and particulate materials. The mask meets certain fluid barrier protection standards and Class I or Class II flammability tests. Surgical masks are generally regulated by FDA as Class II devices under 21 CFR 878.4040 – Surgical apparel.

"Suspected COVID-19" means a person who has been told by a licensed health care provider that they are suspected to have COVID-19; or is experiencing recent loss of taste and/or smell with no other explanation; or is experiencing both fever (greater than or equal to 100.4° F) and new unexplained cough associated with shortness of breath; or has symptoms consistent with the clinical criteria in the CDC national case definition and no other explanation for symptoms exist.

"Symptomatic" means a person is experiencing signs or symptoms attributed to COVID-19. A person may become symptomatic two to 14 days after exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

"Symptoms of COVID-19" are medical conditions that are subjective to the person and not observable to others and may include chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, or diarrhea, etc.

"Technical feasibility" means the existence of technical know-how as to materials and methods available or adaptable to specific circumstances that can be applied to one or more requirements in this chapter with a reasonable possibility that employee exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 disease hazards will be reduced. If an employer's level of compliance lags significantly behind that of the employer's industry, allegations of technical infeasibility will not be accepted.

"USBC" means Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code.

"Vaccine" means a biological product authorized or licensed by the FDA to prevent or provide protection against COVID-19, whether the substance is administered through a single dose or a series of doses.

"VDH" means Virginia Department of Health.

"VOSH" means Virginia Occupational Safety and Health.

"Work practice control" means a type of administrative control by which the employer modifies the manner in which the employee performs assigned work. Such modification may result in a reduction of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 disease related workplace hazards and job tasks through such methods as changing work habits, improving sanitation and hygiene practices, or making other changes in the way the employee performs the job.

Statutory Authority

§ 40.1-22 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 37, Issue 13, eff. January 27, 2021; amended, Virginia Register Volume 38, Issue 3, eff. September 8, 2021.

Website addresses provided in the Virginia Administrative Code to documents incorporated by reference are for the reader's convenience only, may not necessarily be active or current, and should not be relied upon. To ensure the information incorporated by reference is accurate, the reader is encouraged to use the source document described in the regulation.

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