Management of contacts

People who may have been exposed to individuals with suspected COVID-19 (including healthcare workers) should be advised to monitor their health for 14 days from the last day of possible contact. A contact is a person who is involved in any of the following from 2 days before, and up to 14 days after, the onset of symptoms in the patient:[485]

  • Face-to-face contact with a COVID-19 patient within 3 feet (1 meter) for more than 15 minutes

  • Providing direct care for patients with COVID-19 without using proper personal protective equipment

  • Staying in the same close environment (e.g., workplace, classroom, household, gathering) as a COVID-19 patient for any amount of time

  • Traveling in close proximity within 3 feet (1 meter) with a COVID-19 patient in any kind of conveyance

  • Other situations as indicated by local risk assessments.

If a contact develops symptoms, they should notify the receiving facility, wear a medical mask while traveling to seek care, avoid taking public transport (e.g., call an ambulance or use a private vehicle), perform respiratory and hand hygiene, sit as far away from others as possible in transit, and clean any contaminated surfaces.

Screening of travelers

Exit and entry screening may be recommended in countries where borders are still open, particularly when repatriating nationals from affected areas. Travelers returning from affected areas should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days and follow local protocols of the receiving country. Some countries may require travelers to enter mandatory quarantine in a designated location (e.g., a hotel). Travelers who develop symptoms are advised to contact their local healthcare provider, preferably by phone.[486] One study of 566 repatriated Japanese nationals from Wuhan City found that symptom-based screening performed poorly and missed presymptomatic and asymptomatic cases. This highlights the need for testing and follow-up.[487]

Drive-through screening centers

Drive-through screening centers have been set up in some countries for safer and more efficient screening. The testee does not leave their car throughout the entire process, which includes registration and questionnaire, exam, specimen collection, and instructions on what to do after. This method has the advantage of increased testing capacity and prevention of cross-infection between testees in the waiting space.[488]

Temperature screening

There is little scientific evidence to support temperature screening with thermal cameras or temperature screening products as a reliable method for the detection of COVID-19 or any other febrile illness, especially if used as the main method of testing.[489]

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