Information for people exposed to COVID-19

As the number of people with COVID-19 increases, ACT Health is focusing on contacting people at the highest risk of getting COVID-19.

People who have tested positive to COVID-19 should tell the people they live with that they have tested positive for COVID-19.

They should also tell their workplace and social contacts.

They should notify any of these people if they spent time with them from the 2 days before they started having symptoms or tested positive (whichever came first) that they are at high risk of getting COVID-19.

If you are told by someone with COVID-19 that you may have been exposed to the virus, use the advice below to understand your risk and what you can do to protect yourself and others.

Who is at risk of being infected with COVID-19?

The risk of infection increases:

  • if you live with someone who has COVID-19 (household contact)
  • if you spent a long time with someone who has COVID-19, and interacted closely with them (for example, you stayed overnight at their house)
  • if you were indoors with someone who has COVID-19 (the risk is lower if you were outdoors)
  • if you or the person with COVID-19 were not wearing face masks (the risk is lower if you were both wearing a face mask)

How long am I at risk for?

After being exposed to someone with COVID-19, you are at risk of developing it for 14 days.

The majority of people who develop COVID-19 will do so in the first 7 days after they are exposed.

However, some people still develop COVID-19 between day 8 and 14.

We can’t predict who this will be, so this is why additional precautions are recommended at this time.

How do I know if I have been exposed to COVID-19?

There are several ways you could find out that you have been exposed to COVID-19.

These include:

  • being told by someone who has COVID-19
  • being told by your workplace
  • receiving a notification via your Check In CBR app
  • being contacted by ACT Health via phone or text message

What should I do if I have been exposed to COVID-19?

The following table can help to identify who is at greatest risk of COVID-19, and what to do if you have been exposed to COVID-19.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, please see people who have tested positive to COVID-19.

Remember, if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, get a test  immediately and isolate until a negative result is received

You

Risk of getting COVID-19

What do I need to do?

I live with someone who has COVID-19 (household contact)

High

You must:

  • have a test as soon as you can and quarantine for 7 days from the date of collection of the positive COVID-19 test result (day 0) of first case in your household
  • complete the ACT Health online declaration form
  • have a test on or after day 6

You should:

  • not visit high-risk settings (hospitals, residential aged care facilities, correctional and detention facilities and residential accommodation that support people who require frequent, close personal care and who are vulnerable to disease) from days 8 to 14 after you’ve left quarantine
    • you may still access urgent medical care or aged or disability care services.
  • avoid mass gatherings and large scale events from days 8 to 14 after you’ve left quarantine
  • get a test if you develop any symptoms

Note:

  • you can leave quarantine after 7 days if you have a negative test on or after day 6 and you do not have symptoms
  • if your first test was on or after day 5, you do not need to repeat a test to leave quarantine

I have spent a long time with someone who has COVID-19

For example:

  • I stayed overnight with them
  • I spent the evening indoors at their house
  • I interacted closely with someone who has COVID-19 and we were not wearing masks, for example:
    • we drove a long distance together
    • I looked after children who are now positive

High

You should:

  • have a test as soon as you can and quarantine for 7 days from the last date of exposure to the person who has COVID-19 (that date is day 0)
  • take a test on or after day 6
  • not visit high-risk settings (hospitals, residential aged care facilities, correctional and detention facilities and residential accommodation that support people who require frequent, close personal care and who are vulnerable to disease) from days 8 to 14 after you’ve left quarantine
    • you may still access urgent medical care or aged or disability care services
  • avoid mass gatherings and large-scale events from days 8 to 14 after you’ve left quarantine.
  • get a test if you develop any symptoms

Note:

  • there are no testing or quarantine requirements for other people in your household unless you test positive to COVID-19
  • you can leave quarantine after 7 days if you have a negative day 6 test and you do not have symptoms
  • if your first test  was on or after day 5, you do not need to repeat a test to leave quarantine

I have spent some time with someone who has COVID-19

For example:

  • we had dinner together
  • we met at a pub, club or other social function

Moderate

You should:

  • have a test as soon as you can and quarantine until you receive a negative result
  • if the first test was before day 5 (day 0 is the last date of exposure to the person with COVID-19), have another test on or after day 6
  • get a test if you develop any symptoms and quarantine until you receive a negative result

Note:

  • there are no testing or quarantine requirements for other people in your household unless you test positive to COVID-19

I had brief or distanced contact with someone who has COVID-19

For example:

  • I dropped off shopping
  • we went for a walk outdoors

Low

You should:

  • monitor for COVID-19 symptoms
  • get a test if you develop any symptoms and quarantine until you receive a negative result

Note:

Counting days since exposure

Please note when counting days since exposure, you must include day zero.

Day zero (0) is the last day of your potential exposure to a person with COVID-19, or the day you visited an exposure location.

If you attended a location that had more than one exposure time or date, and you attended during these times, you should count the most recent date that you attended as day 0.

If you are quarantining in a household with someone who has COVID-19 your last date of exposure will be the collection date of the COVID-19 test of that the first person in your household who tested positive for COVID-19

How do I get to a COVID-19 test?

A rapid antigen test (RAT) is a quick way to detect COVID-19.

For a PCR test, see travelling to and from the clinic on the COVID-19 testing page.

How long am I at risk for?

After being exposed to someone with COVID-19, you are at risk of developing it for 14 days.

The majority of people who develop COVID-19 will do so in the first 7 days after they are exposed.

However, some people still develop COVID-19 between day 8 and 14.

We can’t predict who this will be, so this is why additional precautions are recommended at this time.

What is a suitable quarantine premises?

See suitable quarantine premises.

Leaving quarantine

If you are a high-risk contact, your quarantine period lasts until 7 days after your exposure.

Your quarantine period ends if you do not have any COVID-19 symptoms and all your tests have been negative.

If you are quarantining in a household with someone who has COVID-19

If you are quarantining in a household with someone who has COVID-19, your last date of exposure will be the date that the first person in your household who tested positive for COVID-19 had their test collected.

If possible, you should appropriately separate from the person who has COVID-19.

If you cannot appropriately separate from the case and the case doesn’t need ongoing care from you or you don’t need ongoing care from the person who has COVID-19, please discuss with ACT Health.

While there is someone in your house in isolation, you should not enter high risk settings, including:

  • hospitals
  • residential aged care facilities
  • correction and detention facilities, and
  • residential accommodation facilities that support people who require frequent, close personal care and who are vulnerable to disease.

You can still access urgent medical care or aged or disability care services.

You are permitted to enter a residential aged care facility, or another residential accommodation facility, if you are a resident of that facility.

Facilities may permit entry into a facility following a risk assessment (for example, staff working in the facility, visits for end of life care).

You should continue to practise COVID safe behaviours.

Related information

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

Last Updated: January 20 2022