Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com

MUSKOKA — Confusion abounds on the subject of COVID. And it’s a real concern.

In an effort to clear up some of it, here are two examples a reader asked us about today.

What’s the difference between close contact and community acquired?

That’s important when looking at public health reporting about how a person came down with the coronavirus.

So, how does the local health unit define the two?

Close contact is being in close contact with a known case, says Kathy Dermott, communications specialist with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, which releases daily numbers about confirmed cases — and highlighted in yellow.

“Example, I get it and a few days later after hanging around with me you get it from me,” she told MuskokaTODAY.com in response to our query.

On the other hand ….

“Community acquired is getting it somewhere in the community, but you don’t know who from.

“Example at a public setting where people are closer than two metres and aren’t practising precautions.”

Further, from the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) has some answers on the two in its guidance for contact tracers.

It says that a close contact is “any individual who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes, starting from two days before illness onset … until the time the patient is isolated.”

Or, if the person who tested positive was asymptomatic, you had that much contact with them two days prior to their positive test.

The CDC adds that community spread happens when officials cannot determine how or where people are being infected with the disease.

For more details, see the Simcoe Muskoka definitions page under tops. Here is the link:


Is being close to someone the same as getting the coronavirus through it being community acquired? Kathy Dermott from the health unit explains the difference.


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