By Jesse Sarles

(CBS4) – With Colorado still seeing troubling coronavirus numbers, CBS4 Medical Editor Dr. Dave Hnida discussed the new exposure guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. Previous guidance suggested close contact was when a person was within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for 15 consecutive minutes.

(credit: Safeway)

“We always thought you had to be within 6 feet of somebody for at least 15 minutes before you really had to be concerned that you could contract the virus from someone who is carrying COVID. But that’s certainly not the case in any way, shape or form,” Hnida said in an interview on CBSN Denver.

It turns out there are a lot of other variables involved.

“We think at this point in time probably one of the major drivers of infection — with the surge of infections we’re seeing — are actually a little bit lesser periods of times that add up over the course of a day,” the Colorado doctor said.

An example would be when someone is in an office and a coworker has the virus. If that someone has several very short periods of contact with the coworker, even though they are short, they add up over time.

“And as a result, you could wind them becoming positive or catching the virus just even with those multiple shorter exposures,” Hnida said.

Hnida said the example could also happen in a household or a grocery store.

To slow the spread of COVID, Hnida suggests wearing a mask above all else when it comes to contact with others.

“Hygiene and distancing (are important), but the number one thing we know that works is a mask,” he said. “So please mask up especially as we go into this colder weather and into the holiday season.

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Jesse Sarles

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