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CDC Guideline Updates on Close Contacts

October 23, 2020

Expanded Definition of COVID-19 Close Contacts

On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published an expanded definition of a COVID-19 close contact. Under the new definition, a close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to a positive test result).

Under the previous definition, someone who spent time near a COVID-19 positive person for less than 15 minutes at one time would not have been classified as a close contact. Under the expanded definition, having short exposures throughout one day that add up to 15 minutes or more will now classify that person as a close contact.

Tulane Contact Tracers will adjust their protocols based on this new guidance. While we expect to see an increase in the number of close contacts identified by Tulane Contact Tracers, we are confident that incorporating this new guideline will enhance our ability to promote safety on Tulane’s campus.

Thank you,
Campus Health