CDC redefines COVID-19 ‘close contact’ guidelines

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CDC redefines COVID-19 ‘close contact’ guidelines
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CDC redefines COVID-19 ‘close contact’ guidelines after prison guard is infected after only 17 minutes of contact with positive inmates

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have, on Wednesday, October 21, redefined the guidelines for ‘close contact’ with someone with coronavirus.

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The CDC now defines ‘close contact’ with someone who has tested positive as a 15-minute interval or several brief encounters that add up to 15 minutes within 24 hours.

The change was prompted when a 20-year-old prison guard contracted the virus from inmates who tested positive after spending only 17 minutes in total with them over a series of brief encounters.


The change may prompt health departments to do contact tracing in cases where an exposure might previously have been considered too brief, said Dr William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University infectious diseases expert.

It also serves notice that the coronavirus can spread more easily than many people realize, he added.


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