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CDC expanded the definition of a ‘close contact’ when it comes to COVID-19

CDC has released new guidelines about who should be considered a close contact.

Italian Technological Innovation and Digitalization Minister, Paola Pisano shows her phone, featuring a contact tracing app that Italy launched nationwide in its efforts to contain COVID-19’s spread, during an interview with The Associated Press in Rome, Thursday, June 11, 2020.
Italian Technological Innovation and Digitalization Minister Paola Pisano shows her phone, featuring a contact tracing app that Italy launched nationwide in its efforts to contain COVID-19’s spread, during an interview with The Associated Press in Rome, Thursday, June 11, 2020.
Domenico Stinellis, Associated Press

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its guidelines to expand who should be considered a “close contact” for someone infected with COVID-19.

  • The guidelines previous deemed a “close contact” as someone who spent 15 consecutive minutes within 6 feet of someone who had COVID-19.
  • The new guidelines suggest a “close contact” is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour time period.
  • The CDC and Vermont health officials recently published a report that said someone at a prison got COVID-19 after interacting with someone who later tested positive after 22 interactions in 17 minutes during an eight-hour shift.

Why it matters:

  • The Washington Post said: “The change by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is likely to have its biggest impact in schools, workplaces and other group settings where people are in contact with others for long periods of time. It also underscores the importance of mask-wearing to prevent spread of the virus, even as President Trump and his top coronavirus adviser raise doubts about such guidance.”

How to stay safe

The CDC said about half of those who have had COVID-19 don’t show any symptoms.

  • “It’s critical to wear a mask because you could be carrying the virus and not know it,” the CDC said, according to The Washington Post. “While a mask provides some limited protection to the wearer, each additional person who wears a mask increases the individual protection for everyone. When more people wear masks, more people are protected.”