The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated the definition of “Close Contact.” Among other things, the new definition effects the close contact and monitoring process recommended by the CDC.

The term “Close Contact” is now defined as:

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.

See CDC Appendix to Contact Tracing protocols, among others. This new definition applies directly to “Close Contact Evaluation and Monitoring Priorities.” This recommendation concerns the evaluation and monitoring of individuals who have had close contact with people with confirmed and probable COVID-19 infection.

The CDC provides a “Close Contact Evaluation and Monitoring Hierarchy.” Those who should be evaluated and monitored carefully are those who come in close contact with: for example: 1) hospitalized patients and members of a large household living in close quarters; 2) individuals 65 years of age or older; 3) individuals with COVID symptoms, and 4) individuals without apparent symptoms.

This new definition applies not only to so-called “contact tracing,” but also when to recommendations as to when one should quarantine.