Close contact Definition:
A close contact is defined as requiring:
- greater than 15 minutes face-to-face contact in any setting with a confirmed case in the period extending from 24 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed case, or
- sharing of a closed space with a confirmed case for a prolonged period (e.g. more than 2 hours) in the period extending from 24 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed case.
For the purposes of surveillance, a close contact includes a person meeting any of the following criteria:
- Living in the same household or household-like setting (e.g. in a boarding school or hostel).
- Direct contact with the body fluids or laboratory specimens of a case without recommended PPE or failure of PPE.
- A person who spent 2 hours or longer in the same room (such as a GP or ED waiting room a school classroom; communal room in an aged care facility). See Special Situations section of the COVID-19 CDNA national guidelines for public health units for further information.
- A person in the same hospital room when an aerosol generating procedure is undertaken on the case, without recommended PPE.
- Aircraft passengers who were seated in the same row as the case, or in the two rows in front or two rows behind a confirmed COVID-19 case. Contact tracing of people who may have had close contact on long bus or train trips should also be attempted where possible, using similar seating/proximity criteria.
- For aircraft crew exposed to a confirmed case, a case-by-case risk assessment should be conducted by the airline to identify which crew member(s) should be managed as close contacts (see Special Situations section of the COVID-19 CDNA national guidelines for public health units for further information).
- If an aircraft crew member is the COVID-19 case, contact tracing efforts should concentrate on passengers seated in the area where the crew member was working during the flight and all of the other members of the crew.
- Close contacts on cruise ships can be difficult to identify, and a case-by-case risk assessment should be conducted to identify which passengers and crew should be managed as close contacts (see Special Situations section of the COVID-19 CDNA national guidelines for public health units for further information).
Contact needs to have occurred within the period extending 24 hours before onset of symptoms in the case until the case is classified as no longer infectious by the treating team.
Note that healthcare workers and other contacts who have taken recommended infection control precautions, including the use of full PPE, while caring for a symptomatic confirmed COVID-19 case are not considered to be close contacts.