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CDC Updates Definition of ‘Close Contact’

Oct 29, 2020
COVID-19 Update

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has modified its definition of what constitutes “close contact” with persons infected with COVID-19 and the potential elevated risk of contracting the virus.

The CDC had previously defined 'close contact' as spending at least 15 consecutive minutes within six feet of an infected person. However, on October 21, the CDC updated its definition of 'close contact' to being within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. 

This definition applies without regard to whether facemasks were used either by the newly infected person or the person who was in close contact.

The new definition will have a significant impact on schools, workplaces, job sites and other venues where people spend sustained amounts of time together — usually several hours or more.

For more information on how this definition will impact workplace protocols, read the full report, CDC Broadens Guidance on Degree of “Close Contact” That Poses Covid-19 Risk, [link to pdf] issued by Felhaber Larsen.

Read the summary report on the Felhaber Larsen website.

Learn more about the CDC’s updated Contact Tracing for COVID-19.