Coronavirus: CDC changes definition of ‘close contact’

AI tool can help doctors prioritize care, make discharging plans for COVID-19 patients

A patient infected with COVID-19 is treated at one of the intensive care units (ICU) at the University Hospital of Torrejon in Torrejon de Ardoz, Spain, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have changed its definition of a “close contact,” which impacts the agency’s recommendation on who should quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Previously, the CDC recommended that those who were within 6 feet for 15 minutes of someone infected with the coronavirus should quarantine for two weeks. Now, the CDC recommends that those who are in contact with someone infected for 15 minutes over a 24-hour period should quarantine.

The CDC offers the following recommendations for those who have been in contact with someone recently infected with the coronavirus:

  • Stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, such as older adults and people with other medical conditions, if possible.
  • If you have been around someone with COVID-19, stay home and away from others for 14 days (self-quarantine) after your last contact with that person and monitor your health.
  • If you have a fever, cough or other symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and away from others (except to get medical care or testing, if recommended).
  • If you need support or assistance while in self-quarantine, your health department or community organizations may be able to provide assistance.

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