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What is Significant Exposure?

As more and more people venture out from quarantine, we have seen cases of COVID-19 rising. Many of our patients have been seeing friends and family, traveling and attending camps. Unfortunately, this results in potential exposures. However, not all exposures are created equally. It’s important to know what constitutes a significant exposure as that guides our decision making regarding testing.

What’s a significant exposure?
a. Significant exposures happen when you are around a COVID-19 positive person for 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of each other.
– If there is adequate distancing and masks were worn by both parties, the risk of infection is drastically reduced. However, if you are closer – than 6 feet apart, you are still exposed if the encounter lasted more than 15 minutes whether or not you are wearing a mask.
If the exposure was outside, that also reduces the risk of transmission.

b. You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
c. You had direct physical contact with the person (touched, hugged, or kissed them)
d. You shared eating or drinking utensils
e. They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you

If a significant exposure took place, the safest step is to quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether your child was tested or not. If a child tests negative but was still had a significant exposure, it is possible that symptoms could still develop, and so it’s important to stay home for those 14 days to stop the potential spread among others. Symptoms can show up between 2-14 days, with an average of 5 days from exposure to symptoms.

How can you reduce you and your child’s risk of significant exposure?
Help reduce your child’s risk of significant exposure by remembering the 3 Ws:

  • WEAR a face covering
  • WAIT 6 feet apart/avoid close contact
  • WASH your hands often or use hand sanitizer