The definitions are changing again.
This time the changes in definition come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The question in play: What is ‘close contact’ and how does one define it?
Up until recently, close contact was defined as spending 15 minutes within 6 feet of someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Now, the definition from the CDC says that ‘total’ contact of 15 minutes, over a 24-hour period constitutes ‘close contact’.
In other words, if you see someone six times over the course of a day, and you never spent 15 continuous minutes with them – but the total time of contact adds up to 15 – then you have had ‘close contact’.
Those individuals, as was the standard before, are asked to quarantine for 14 days.
It changes the rules of contact tracing for local health departments, who are already working overtime to trace all contacts of those who may have interacted with a positive case.
The change comes after a case in Vermont, where a correctional officer had several brief encounters with positive inmates for a total of 17 minutes. Those interactions came over an 8-hour shift. He later tested positive.
“As we get more data and understand this COVID we’re going to continue to incorporate that in our recommendations,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said at a press conference this week.
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