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Close contacts are those people that live with you or spend a lot of time indoors with a person diagnosed with COVID-19. They are at higher risk of catching COVID-19 and then passing the virus on to others.
Public Health recommends close contacts take some simple steps to help reduce the risk to others especially those at risk of severe illness.
A close contact may be:
- anyone who has stayed overnight in the same premises as a case during their infectious period, or
- anyone who has spent more than four hours (over a 24-hour period) in residential setting with a case during their infectious period.
A case’s infectious period is from two days prior to developing symptoms and for up to 10 days after their symptoms began.
You are most infectious for the two days before you develop symptoms and during the time you have acute respiratory symptoms (cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever).
People who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last five weeks are not considered to be close contacts and do not need to follow these additional precautions.
Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 should notify their close contacts so they can follow these simple steps.
If you need help or support, call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.
Simple Steps for Close Contacts to protect others
- Stay at home and test immediately if you have any symptoms, even mild
- Stay at home while you have symptoms
- Do not visit people at risk of severe illness (people aged over 70), anyone in hospital or an aged or disability care facility. If you do have to visit, do a RAT before you go.
- If you work in a high risk setting such as health, disability and aged care, follow the policy of your employer about any steps you may need to take This may include having a negative RAT each day before commencing work and wearing a mask while in the workplace.
- Wear a face mask in any indoor space and on public transport for seven days after your last contact with the case. Check your workplace policy on close contacts – they may have steps you need to take when going to work.
- Avoid large gatherings and social events where physical distancing is not possible
- Maintain all COVID safe behaviours
Living with someone who has COVID-19
If someone in your household tests positive to COVID-19 the following measures are recommended to reduce the risk to others in the household:
- Avoid physical contact with the case - the case should have their own room or area away from others at all times. Sleep in a separate room/area. Make sure the home/premises has good air flow (open the windows to increase air circulation). Wear a face mask at all times if you must be near the case.
- Do not share household items – such as cutlery, plates, towels, bedding. The items used by the case must be washed thoroughly.
- Do not share food and drinks
- Clean frequently touched surfaces (like door handles, sink taps and benches) in shared areas at least daily, using normal household detergent or disinfectant.
- Have own bathroom if possible. If there is only one bathroom, any windows in the bathroom should remain open, fans on and ensure the toilet is flushed with the lid closed.
- Leave food, snacks and essential items at the closed door of the bedroom/room of the case.