CDC redefines close contact definition


Coronavirus Resources from the CDC

BOSTON (SHNS) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its definition of a “close contact” in terms of COVID-19 exposure.

The new definition considers someone a close contact if they were “within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.”

The previous definition required a consecutive 15 minutes, and the update allows for repeated, briefer contact that adds up to at least 15 minutes.

Other situations that qualify as close contact include providing care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19, direct physical contact like hugging or kissing, sharing eating or drinking utensils, or if a person with COVID-19 “sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.”

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