The CDC has Expanded COVID-19 Close Contact Definition

The CDC released new guidance (updated guidance) on Wednesday regarding what counts as “close contact” with someone who has COVID-19. The expanded definition includes “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 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.” Previously, the CDC defined close contact as spending 15 consecutive minutes or more within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19. Note: Maricopa County Department of Health defines close contact as within 6 feet for longer than 10 minutes.

This expanded definition means employers will have to adjust their close contact tracing protocol and revise any published written material that adopted the CDC’s previous definition.