I just learned that someone I know has tested positive for COVID-19. How do I know if I am a close contact?
When UMaine positive cases become known, contact tracing begins immediately. All members of the UMaine community who have been identified as close contacts are notified, and advised to not report to work or attend on-campus classes on campus, and to quarantine at home. On-campus quarantine housing is available for residential students. If individuals do not receive a contact tracing call from UMaine or Maine CDC, you are not considered a close contact.
Here are some CDC definitions:
A contact is defined as someone who had any contact with an infected person (probable or confirmed COVID-19 case) while they were infectious — starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic clients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
Close contact is defined by CDC as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. The World Health Organization (WHO) additionally includes persons with direct physical contact with a probable or confirmed case, direct care for a patient with probable or confirmed COVID-19 disease without using proper personal protective equipment, and other situations as indicated by local risk assessments.
Isolation refers to a strategy used to separate people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (those with and without symptoms) from people who are not infected. The term is used here to refer to people who are isolated at home, a community care center (i.e., isolation shelter), or a health facility. In the home, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or who has been diagnosed with the disease should separate themselves from others in the home to reduce the risk of transmission to others in the household and should stay home until it is safe for them to be around others. This also includes people who have signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19, for whom test results are not yet or will not be available.
Quarantine refers to a strategy used to keep someone who is classified as a close contact of a person with COVID-19, but does not know if he or she is infected, away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows that he or she is infected. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their local public health authorities.