October 26, 2020

CDC updates definition of ‘close contact’

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on October 21 updated its COVID-19 “close contact” definition to being “within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period,” even if the time isn’t consecutive.

The previous definition of “close contact” was exposure to someone who was within 6 feet of an infected individual for at least 15 minutes.


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The CDC changed its definition after releasing a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report study that describes the case of a Vermont correctional officer who contracted the virus after multiple brief encounters with six incarcerated people who tested positive for COVID-19.

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