A person infected with the coronavirus can spread the virus for two days, coming into close contact with others, before showing symptoms.
While researchers are still learning about the coronavirus, medical experts have determined what a close contact is and what to do if you were near someone with the virus.
Close contact is considered when any person is within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes or more within two days before the start of the illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For asymptomatic patients, those who are infected but do not show symptoms, the time frame would be two days before testing positive.
People who provided care for someone who is infected, have direct physical contact like kissing or hugging, or have shared eating or drinking utensils with an infected person would all be considered close contact, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams said on social media. Also, close contact is considered if someone is sneezed or coughed on by an infected person.
Close contacts who were infected should self-isolate for 10 days immediately after showing symptoms and talk to their medical provider, according to the CDC. Even after a negative test, a person who had shown symptoms should still quarantine 14 days.
Close contacts who were not infected are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days from their last potential exposure and should be tested, health officials said.
Most people who become infected have a mild illness and can recover with medical care, for others, the virus can cause negative long-term health effects and even death.