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The CDC’s New Definition of “Close Contact”: What You Need To Know

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The CDC’s New Definition of “Close Contact”: What You Need To Know

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded the definition of close contact to now evaluate exposure cumulatively over a 24-hour period such that “15 cumulative minutes of exposure at a distance of 6 feet or less can be used as an operational definition for contact investigation,”[1] Because the newly expanded definition is not limited, it impacts many different industries (including transportation and logistics, health care, automotive, manufacturing, and educational industries) and different persons (e.g., first responders, health care professionals, customer-facing employees, and others). As winter is coming and the holiday season is upon us, the CDC’s new “close contact” definition greatly impacts all workers, employers, and workplaces, as everyone now needs to evaluate physical distancing in smaller, repetitive increments of time.

To understand the new definition of and the factors used to assess close contact, you can read the Employment Law360 Expert Analysis article, “CDC ‘Close Contact’ Definition Creates Employer Challenges,” authored by Bonnie Mayfield, Bloomfield Hills-based Member in Dykema’s Labor and Employment group.


[1]  “Appendix A – Glossary of Key Terms,” https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/contact-tracing/contact-tracing-plan/appendix.html#contact

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