CDC Expands COVID-19 Contact Tracing Parameters

CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced they expanded the definition of who is considered to be a “close contact” of a person testing positive for COVID-19. These new guidelines will greatly expand the group of people considered at risk of contracting the virus, according to The Washington Post on Oct. 21, 2020.

Changing the “close contact” definition comes after a 20-year-old prison employee interacted with 22 individuals who later tested positive for coronavirus. These interactions took place during an 8-hour shift — each interaction totaled more than 17 minutes.

The previous CDC contact tracing parameters indicated a “close contact” someone who spent 15 consecutive minutes within six feet of a confirmed case. Now, however, they determined an expanded interaction window was necessary.

Accordingly, the CDC contract tracing rules will include any person who has been within six feet away from an infected person for a total of 15 minutes in a 24-hour-time period. The change is likely to affect schools, workplaces, and anywhere people gather for long stretches of time.

Wearing masks, frequently washing one’s hands, and maintaining the social distancing protocol of six feet remain the primary safety protocols recommended by the CDC.

Coronavirus cases and deaths are on the rise with what is thought to be the beginning of the third wave of infections. At least 40 states have reported an increase in infections during recent weeks — eight states announced record cases.

CDC modeling predicts an additional “3,400 to 7,100 new deaths will likely be reported during the week ending Nov. 7, 2020.” As of October 22, Johns Hopkins COVID map reflects 8,338,09 infections— 222,210 deaths.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

The Washington Post: CDC expands definition of who is a ‘close contact’ of an individual with covid-19; Lena H. Sun
CDC: Interpretation of Forecasts of New and Total Deaths

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