Quantifying social contact patterns in Minnesota during stay-at-home social distancing order

Audrey M. Dorélien, Narmada Venkateswaran, Jiuchen Deng, Kelly Searle, Eva Enns, Giovann Alarcon Espinoza, Shalini Kulasingam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


SARS-CoV-2 is primarily transmitted through person-to-person contacts. It is important to collect information on age-specific contact patterns because SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility, transmission, and morbidity vary by age. To reduce the risk of infection, social distancing measures have been implemented. Social contact data, which identify who has contact with whom especially by age and place are needed to identify high-risk groups and serve to inform the design of non-pharmaceutical interventions. We estimated and used negative binomial regression to compare the number of daily contacts during the first round (April–May 2020) of the Minnesota Social Contact Study, based on respondent’s age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, and other demographic characteristics. We used information on the age and location of contacts to generate age-structured contact matrices. Finally, we compared the age-structured contact matrices during the stay-at-home order to pre-pandemic matrices. During the state-wide stay-home order, the mean daily number of contacts was 5.7. We found significant variation in contacts by age, gender, race, and region. Adults between 40 and 50 years had the highest number of contacts. The way race/ethnicity was coded influenced patterns between groups. Respondents living in Black households (which includes many White respondents living in inter-racial households with black family members) had 2.7 more contacts than respondents in White households; we did not find this same pattern when we focused on individual’s reported race/ethnicity. Asian or Pacific Islander respondents or in API households had approximately the same number of contacts as respondents in White households. Respondents in Hispanic households had approximately two fewer contacts compared to White households, likewise Hispanic respondents had three fewer contacts than White respondents. Most contacts were with other individuals in the same age group. Compared to the pre-pandemic period, the biggest declines occurred in contacts between children, and contacts between those over 60 with those below 60.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number324
JournalBMC infectious diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded under a contract with the Minnesota Department of Health. This work was also supported by the Minnesota Population Center P2C HD041023 grant, a grant from the University of Minnesota, Office of the Vice Provost for Research, and a grant from the University of Minnesota Human Rights Initiative Fund.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


  • Age-structured contact matrices
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Social contacts
  • Stay-at-home orders

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantifying social contact patterns in Minnesota during stay-at-home social distancing order'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this