New CDC guidance on ‘close contacts’ in COVID-19 cases could affect schools | Local News

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The updated CDC guidance also includes as a close contact anyone who has “had direct exposure to respiratory secretions, starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days before test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.”

Balmes–John said the new guidance highlights the need to maintain physical distance from coworkers and students and may result in changes in policies to prevent close contact between individuals.

“For example, a restaurant may have staff who frequently stand near each other at a cash register for a minute or two before they move on to another task,” Balmes–John said. “With this new guidance, the business may want to reassess how they can keep employees physically distanced at all times, perhaps by making 6-foot markers on the ground so employees know where to stand while they wait to use the register.”

“The same may go for schools as teachers make decisions on where in the classroom to provide instruction, or for community members as we engage in brief interactions with neighbors, friends and co-workers,” she continued.

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Balmes–John said the community should continue to practice other COVID-19 mitigation procedures, such as wearing masks in public, washing hands frequently and staying home when sick.

The updated CDC guidance comes just as Stafford County Public Schools prepares to bring just under 7,000 elementary students back to school buildings for hybrid instruction beginning Tuesday. 

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