On Oct. 21, 2020, the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) launched a brand new definition for “shut contact.” The brand new definition was expanded to account for the cumulative quantity of publicity one might need had with an individual contaminated with COVID-19.
Below the brand new definition, shut contact is outlined as being “inside six ft of an contaminated individual for a cumulative complete of 15 minutes or extra over a 24-hour interval starting two days earlier than sickness onset.”
For the needs of contact tracing, this implies particular person exposures are added collectively all through a 24-hour interval. A number of transient interactions, corresponding to three five-minute interactions (for a complete of 15 minutes) with an contaminated particular person would qualify as shut contact below this expanded definition. That is in comparison with the earlier definition which restricted shut contact to publicity inside six ft of an contaminated particular person for a steady 15-minute interval or extra.
Whether or not somebody has come into shut contact with an contaminated particular person shouldn’t be restricted solely to time and area issues. Whereas nearer proximity and longer durations of time improve the possibility of publicity, extra elements might point out shut contact. These elements embrace whether or not the contaminated particular person had signs or was participating in actions prone to generate respiratory aerosols, corresponding to coughing, singing, or shouting.
This expanded definition of shut contact will doubtless have an effect on office practices, employment considerations, and different results associated to the mitigation of virus unfold.
 Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, Appendix A – Glossary of Key Phrases, Oct. 21, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/contact-tracing/contact-tr…
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