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Gov. Reynolds announces update to ‘COVID-19 close contact’ definition

At her press conference today, Governor Reynolds announced a change to the definition of a close contact for COVID-19 cases for the purposes of contact tracing and quarantine. Today the State of Iowa announced that if both individuals are wearing masks in non-residential or non- healthcare settings, regardless of distance or duration, they are not considered close contacts. A close contact is now defined as someone who was within 6ft of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 of more consecutive minutes, when one or both people are not wearing a face covering. 

  • Household contacts of someone who has tested positive are also considered close contacts regardless of the use of face coverings. 
  • Face coverings must be worn correctly, have two or more layers of fabric, cover the mouth and nose, and fit snuggly across the face for individuals to not be considered a close contact. 
  • Face shields and gaiters are not considered face coverings for the purposes determining close contacts. 
  • Acceptable face coverings are described in CDC guidance available at: coverings.html 
  • People currently in quarantine may be released from quarantine if a face covering was worn consistently and correctly by the positive case and close contacts during exposure. 

The Black Hawk County Health Department strongly encourages the use of face coverings, and to continue to practice social distancing. Although with the new close contact definition face coverings are considered to prevent exposures, layered approaches remain important to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 as much as possible. Please continue to practice all control measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by staying home when you are sick or been exposed to COVID-19, practicing regular hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, wearing a face covering, and practicing social distancing of 6ft between others. 

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