The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its definition of a close contact with a Covid-19 patient to include multiple, brief exposures, director Dr. Robert Redfield said Wednesday.
The new definition includes exposures adding up to a total of 15 minutes spent six feet or closer to an infected person. Previously, the CDC defined a close contact as 15 minutes of continuous exposure to an infected individual.
Some background: The agency changed the definition after a report from Vermont of a corrections officer who became infected after several brief interactions with coronavirus-positive inmates – none of them lasting 15 minutes, but adding up over time.
“As we get more data and understand the science of Covid, we are going to incorporate that in our recommendations,” Redfield said at a news conference held at CDC headquarters in Atlanta. “Originally, contact that was considered to be high risk for potential exposure to Covid was someone within six feet for more than 15 minutes."
The new data is being incorporated into recommendations, he said.