The CDC Redefines “Close Contact”

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The CDC Redefines “Close Contact”

As the number of reported cases of COVID-19 continues to rise, employers are increasingly confronted with questions and obligations regarding their workforce.  With that being said, employers should be aware that as of October 21st, the CDC revised the definition of “close contact” to include the following:

Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over 24 hours* starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to testing specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.

* Individual exposures added together over 24 hours (e.g., three 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). Data are limited, making it difficult to precisely define “close contact;” however, 15 cumulative minutes of exposure at a distance of 6 feet or less can be used as an operational definition for contact investigation. Factors to consider when defining close contact include proximity (closer distance likely increases exposure risk), the duration of exposure (longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk), whether the infected individual has symptoms (the period around onset of symptoms is associated with the highest levels of viral shedding) if the infected person was likely to generate respiratory aerosols (e.g., was coughing, singing, shouting), and other environmental factors (crowding, adequacy of ventilation, whether exposure was indoors or outdoors). Because the general public has not received training on proper selection and use of respiratory PPE, such as an N95, the determination of close contact should generally be made irrespective of whether the contact was wearing respiratory PPE.  At this time, differential determination of close contact for those using fabric face coverings is not recommended.

Please note that this may affect current policies or procedures that your organization has put in place.

To review the CDC’s COVID-19 terminology, see here.  Contact Innovative Benefit Planning at info@ibpllc.com for any further questions or concerns.

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