On October 21, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated its website as to the definition of close contact. The definition has been modified to “Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.” The CDC clarified that individual exposures add together over a 24-hour period (e.g., three 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). The CDC notes that data is limited, which makes it difficult to define close contact,” but that 15 cumulative minutes of exposure at a distance of 6 feet or less can be used as an operational definition for contact investigation.

Companies should review their COVID-19­related policies that reference close contact.