Isolation

Last Updated: 30 Sep 2022 4:58pm

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COVID-19 continues to spread in our community and requires us all to take certain actions. The Department of Health manages COVID-19 under the powers provided by the Public Health Act 1997.

Under the Public Health Act 1997, you must isolate if you:

  • have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or
  • are suspected of having COVID-19.

Isolating when you have COVID-19

Isolating from other people when you have COVID-19 is the best way to protect your family and friends from getting the infection and prevent the virus from spreading in the Tasmanian community.

Under the Public Health Act 1997, most people diagnosed with COVID-19 must isolate for a minimum of five days.

You must isolate for 7 days if:

  • if you still have symptoms after five days
  • if you are a resident or in-patient of a listed high risk residential facility (including residential aged care facility or residential disability facility, or hospital) ].

All cases must take additional precautions when you are released from isolation.

Release from isolation

Some cases can be released from isolation five days after their first positive test.

People will be able to leave isolation after 5 days if:

  • all acute COVID-related symptoms have gone or have significantly resolved (e.g., cough, runny nose, sore throat, or shortness of breath)

AND

  • they have NOT had a fever (or signs of fever such as chills or night sweats) for at least 24 hours.

If a person has symptoms on or after 5 days theymust remain in isolation until they meet the above criteria.

Fever or respiratory symptoms that haven’t improved significantly could mean you are still infectious. That’s why it’s important to stay in isolation until you meet the criteria above.

In addition, all individuals who leave isolation MUST:

  • wear a face mask in all settings away from the home until 7 days after they test positive (everyone aged 12 years and older).
  • not attend any listed high-risk settings (even for the purposes of work) until 7 days after they test positive.

After you leave isolation you must continue to take additional precautions. There is a small chance you may still be infectious and able to spread the virus after leaving isolation. To minimise the small risk of transmission to those at risk of severe illness it is recommended that after leaving isolation recent cases continue to take additional precautions until 10 days after they tested positive, including:

  • wearing a face mask when outside the home
  • avoiding non-essential attendance at all high-risk premises (hospitals, residential aged care and disability settings, health care facilities including General Practice and Allied Health, correctional facilities) or contact with people who are at higher risk of severe disease.

If you are not getting better, or you are concerned, contact your GP or healthcare provider in the first instance, or phone the COVID@homeplus team on 1800 973 363.

Your GP or healthcare provider can provide further support, help you manage your symptoms, and assess whether you need further clinical care.

Public Health will send you an email during your isolation period. This email will contain an official letter of release from isolation and can be used as proof of release or as a medical certificate.

Read the 7-step checklist

Understand what else you need to do to if you test positive, including notifying your close contacts

If you test positive for COVID-19 it is important to look after your health and if needed get help. Call your GP if your COVID-19 symptoms worsen or the COVID@homeplus team on 1800 973 363. Read more about managing your COVID-19 symptoms at home.

Where to isolate when you have COVID-19

Depending on your circumstances, you will need to isolate in one of the following:

  • your home or other suitable accommodation
  • hospital, if you need hospital care
  • a government-managed accommodation facility depending on your circumstances and health needs.

If you are not at home/your accommodation when you find out you have tested positive to COVID-19, you must go straight home/to your accommodation. You cannot stop anywhere on the way home, not even to buy medicine or groceries.

Precautions while isolating with COVID-19

If you’re living with others, you must isolate away from them when you have COVID-19:

  • stay in a separate room from others at all times.
  • if you must be in the same room, be as quick as possible, try to keep at least 1.5 metres away and wear a face mask.
  • sleep in a separate bed in a separate room and use a separate bathroom if you can.
  • do not share food, drinks, cutlery, plates, bedding and towels, face washers or toothbrushes. Wash items you use thoroughly.
  • make sure the home/premises has good air flow (open windows and doors to increase air circulation where possible).
  • wash and dry your hands often and well, with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • cover all coughs and sneezes. If you don’t have a tissue handy, use the inside of your elbow. Put used tissues in the rubbish straight away and wash your hands well.
  • clean frequently touched surfaces (like door handles, sink taps and benches) in shared areas at least daily, using normal household detergent and disinfectant.
  • put used face masks other rubbish straight into a bin or plastic bag and wash your hands.

When in isolation with COVID-19, you:

  • must not leave your home or accommodation where you are isolating, except in an emergency or to get essential medical care
  • must not go into public places including work and shops
  • must not let another person into your home unless the person:
    • lives with you and cannot live somewhere else – this person then becomes a close contact and must follow close contact rules for seven days from the date the first positive test was collected within the household. (see close contacts for more information)
    • is providing medical care for you and/or is entering for an emergency.

If you live in a house, you may go into your private garden or courtyard as long as there is no one there who is not in isolation.

You can go onto your private balcony if you live in an apartment or are staying in a hotel.

It is important that you look after yourself while you are in isolation. If your symptoms worsen, contact your GP, healthcare provider or the COVID@homeplus team.

If your symptoms get seriously worse or you feel like it’s an emergency, call triple zero (000) or go straight to hospital. Make sure you tell the triple zero operator or emergency department that you have COVID-19.

If you have concerns about a member of the public not complying with current COVID-19 guidelines, please call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

It is everybody’s responsibility to look out for one another by following COVID safe behaviours and staying home for 5 days after testing positive to COVID-19 and taking additional precautions when you are released from isolation.

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