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CDC Revises Definition of ‘Close Contact’ When it Comes to COVID-19


The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed the definition of “close contact,” from spending 15 minutes consecutively within 6 feet of a person infected with the novel coronavirus to a total of 15 non-consecutive minutes or longer over a period of time.  This difference highlights the risk of transmission from brief but repeated exposures over time. The CDC continues to recommend that individuals exposed to a person who tests positive for COVID-19 should quarantine for 2 weeks.

This change was made after a prison guard in Vermont tested positive for COVID-19 after being exposed to incarcerated people with COVID-19 for 17 minutes total over an 8-hour period.  The guard was always masked and wore goggles; however, the incarcerated people were only sometimes masked. Public health officials suggest that COVID-19 spreads more easily than many people believe. Read more here.

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