The U.S Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has revised its definition of what constitutes close contact with an individual infected with COVID-19.
According to the U.S federal public health agency, close contact now includes people who come into close proximity with patients in multiple short bursts over 24 hours.
Previously, close contact involved being within six feet of an infected person for 15 continuous minutes or more. Now, it’s a cumulative 15 minutes or more over 24 hours.
This will have implications for health authorities carrying out contact tracing, as the pool of people widens under the revision.
The change was made after a study released this week found that the virus could be transmitted between individuals who only had brief contact, but on multiple occasions. This was discovered after an incident in a Vermont prison.
CCTV footage of the prison found that a correctional officer came within six feet of six possibly infected prisoners, but only for a minute at a time. But cumulatively, he had more than 15 minutes of exposure, and later tested positive for the virus.
It is yet unknown if Malta’s health authorities will take this new study into consideration for its contact tracing work.
The world is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 infections, and Malta is included. Yesterday, there were 111 new infections found on the island, constituting the ninth consecutive day of triple digits.
What do you think of the CDC’s revision?