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Health officials define ‘close contact’ requiring coronavirus test

social distancing

MADISON (WKOW) -- Public health officials are working to clear up confusion about whether you need to get tested or quarantine if someone you know tests positive for the coronavirus.

Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) shared a blog post Friday on the topic of 'close contact'.

Health officials say if you've had close contact with someone who tests positive for the coronavirus, you need to quarantine for 14 days and get tested yourself. But they say there's some confusion over the definition.

The health department defines close contact as:

  • You were within 6 feet of a person who tested positive for more than 15 minutes total in a day (this time does not need to be consecutive. Three, 5-minute periods over the course of a day is still close contact).
  • You had any physical contact with a person who has tested positive.
  • You had direct contact with the respiratory secretions of a person who has tested positive (i.e., from coughing, sneezing, contact with a dirty tissue, shared drinking glass, food, or other personal items).
  • You live with or stayed overnight for at least one night in a household with the person who tested positive.

In the blog post, health officials list 13 scenarios as examples of close contact or cases where you aren't necessarily at risk. Click here to read the list.

According to the health department, the best way to avoid becoming a close contact is to wear a mask, stay six feet apart from those you don't live with and don't go to gatherings.

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