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The original item was published from 10/23/2020 3:41:22 PM to 11/24/2020 12:00:05 AM.

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Posted on: October 23, 2020

[ARCHIVED] COVID-19 Update - 10/23/20

The County of Cape May Department of Health is reporting 9 new positive cases among County residents.

Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 1521 including 94 deaths.  

10.23.20 covid graphs

What is a Close Contact of a Positive COVID Case?

On 10/21/20 the Center of Disease Control (CDC) modified the definition of a close contact regarding the length of time associated with exposure and the time interval to assess the potential exposure that can result in transmission. 


Data are limited, making it difficult to precisely define “close contact;” however, 15 cumulative minutes of exposure at a distance of 6 feet or less can be used as an operational definition for contact investigation. The definition now includes a total of 15 minutes or more of close contact (within 6 feet) exposure to an infected person during a 24-hour period. Please note that the period of exposure is cumulative (i.e., the total amount when it is added together). This exposure must occur when the infected person is considered to be infectious which begins 2 days prior to symptom onset, or specimen collection for asymptomatic cases, and extends for most people for 10 days after onset of symptoms and 1 day after fever has resolved. Some individuals with more severe illness or who are immunocompromised may be infectious for up to 20 days. 


In summary, the new definition requires 15 minutes or more of close contact (within 6 feet) of exposure to an infected person during a 24-hour period in which the infected person is infectious. 

It is also important to note that classification of an individual as a close contact is based on many factors and should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Factors to consider when defining close contact include proximity (closer distance likely increases exposure risk), the duration of exposure (longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk), whether the infected individual has symptoms (the period around onset of symptoms is associated with the highest levels of viral shedding), if the infected person was likely to generate respiratory aerosols (e.g., was coughing, singing, shouting), and other environmental factors (crowding, adequacy of ventilation, whether exposure was indoors or outdoors). 

Stay up to date on the current situation as it evolves. Some reliable sources are New Jersey Poison Information and Education System Hotline at 211 or 1-800-962-1253, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at, World Health Organization at, New Jersey Department of Health at For additional information visit Cape May County Department of Health at and also like us on Facebook.

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