Close Contacts


What defines a close contact?

Being closer than 6 feet from an infectious, confirmed COVID-19 case for at least 15 minutes (cumulative) with or without a mask.  The Health Department will review individual circumstances for school and non- school related cases to determine potential exposure based on age, behavior and type of activity that took place.  Close Contacts are required to quarantine and should get tested.


How do I know if I am a close contact?

You will receive a communication from the Winchester Health Department or the Contact Tracing Collaborative if they confirm that you meet the definition of a close contact (see above).  They will reach out to you as quickly as possible, but they need to get information about the positive case first.  If you know you have been exposed to someone infectious with COVID-19, please take the appropriate precautions and stay home while you wait for confirmation from the Health Department and guidance on next steps.  If you are concerned or you have questions, contact: 

I was identified as a close contact to someone positive with COVID-19.  I am quarantining but do other people in my household need to quarantine?

No. Only close contacts are required to be quarantined (not contacts of close contacts).  However, if you become symptomatic, the Health Department recommends your household members remain home until it is confirmed whether you are positive for COVID-19.


An individual in my household was identified by the Health Department as a close contact to someone with COVID-19 and now has symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Should I and other people in my household quarantine?

YES.  Because an individual in your household is exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19, we strongly recommend that you and the other members of your household quarantine, like the identified close contact in your household is doing, until the result of their COVID-19 test is known.  

An individual in my household was exposed to someone with confirmed COVID-19 and is undergoing testing. The person in my household has no symptoms. Can I continue to work while awaiting the test result?

Yes, because you are only a contact of a close contact (not a close contact yourself).  You may consider quarantining like the identified close contact in your household though, until you get their test result.  

An individual in my household was with someone who was a close contact to someone with COVID-19. Does anyone in our household need to quarantine?

No. Only close contacts are required to be quarantined (not contacts of close contacts).  However, if the close contact is determined to be COVID-19 positive, the person in your household who was exposed to them would need to quarantine and would be contacted by the local Health Department. 

How long do I need to quarantine if someone in my house is COVID-19 positive? 

The most current information can found here


School Specific Close Contact Questions

How are close contacts from school identified and contacted?

If a positive COVID-19 case is an in-person student or staff, the Health Department will gather the close contact information from the positive case and also the school COVID-19 point person.  The Health Department will contact all identified close contacts.  Answering your phone and cooperating is key to minimizing the spread of COVID-19.

How are close contacts for in-person high school lunch identified?

Contact tracing by a Health Department nurse includes determining where and with whom the positive COVID-19 case had lunch with (in or outside of the building).


 When can close contacts return to school?

  • All close contacts should be tested and must quarantine for a time period determined by the Health Department based on the date of last exposure to a confirmed positive COVID-19 case. 
  • The Health Department will inform the building-specific school nurse when the student or staff can return to school.