What is a “close contact”?

Close contact is defined as:

  • Living with or caring for a person with confirmed COVID-19, OR
  • Being within six feet of a person with confirmed COVID-19 for about 15 minutes (with or without a mask), OR
  • Someone with COVID-19 coughed on you, kissed you, shared utensils with you or if you had direct contact with their body secretions.

Contact tracers at UW–Madison or another public health entity work with people who test positive for COVID-19 to identify where they spent time while they were symptomatic or infectious. They also work to identify and get in touch with people who may be deemed close contacts.

If you are a close contact on campus, you may hear from a University Health Services contact tracer via secure message on your MyUHS app or through the MyUHS web portal.

If you haven’t heard from a contact tracer but someone tells you they tested positive and you believe you meet the above definition of a close contact, you should:

  • Wear a mask any time you’re around other people for 10 days starting with your last contact (the day of your most recent close contact is day 0), regardless of your vaccination status;
  • Get tested 5 days after your last contact if possible (unless you tested positive in the last 90 days), or sooner if you develop symptoms;

Read more about exposure and quarantining.