U.S. health officials Wednesday redefined what counts as close contact with someone with who has COVID-19.
For months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said close contact meant spending a solid 15 minutes within 6 feet of someone who tested positive, but now says it’s a total of 15 minutes in a 24-hour period.
That means that shorter but repeated contacts that add up to 15 minutes over a day now count as close contact.
Infectious diseases expert Dr William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University says the change may prompt health departments to do contact tracing in cases where an exposure might previously have been considered too brief.
Dr Schaffner says the change also serves notice that the coronavirus can spread more easily than many people realize.