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If you are a COVID-19 ‘close contact’

5-minute read

If you develop symptoms such as severe shortness of breath or chest pain, call triple zero (000) immediately. Tell the call handler and the paramedics on arrival if you have COVID-19.

Who is a 'close contact'?

You are generally a close contact of someone who has COVID-19:

  • if you are living with someone who has COVID-19; or
  • if you have spent 4 hours or longer with someone in a home or a health or aged-care setting since they developed COVID-19; or
  • under exceptional circumstances determined by states or territories

State and territory governments decide on the definition of a close contact and there are differences between them. Please check the definition made by the government of the state or territory that you are in.

What should I do if I am a close contact of someone who has COVID-19?

If you are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19, you must follow the close contact rules of the state or territory that you are in.

Rules will most likely include wearing a mask, getting tested and avoiding high-risk settings for a period of time.

A person can be reinfected with COVID-19 as soon as 28 days after recovering from a previous COVID-19 infection. If you had COVID-19 and you become a close contact in the 28 days since your release from isolation, you don’t need to follow the rules that apply to close contacts. However, if more than 28 days have passed since your release from isolation and you become a close contact, you should get tested and follow the close contact rules of the state or territory that you are in.

Do I need to isolate if I am a close contact?

If you are a close contact of someone who is a confirmed case of COVID-19, and you do not have any symptoms, it is most likely you will not need to isolate.

Depending on which state or territory you live in, you will have to follow certain rules for a set time — usually 7 days — such as:

  • wearing a mask when you leave your home
  • taking regular RAT tests
  • avoid large gatherings and high-risk settings

Check your state or territory government website for more information.

Related topics

How to isolate or quarantine

How to isolate or quarantine

Isolation and quarantine help protect you by preventing exposure to people who have, or may have, COVID-19. Follow these steps if you’re a close contact or have COVID-19.

Local COVID advice by state and territory

Local advice by state and territory

Some COVID-19 advice may differ between states and territories, such as vaccination requirements, isolation and quarantine rules, and travel and hospitality restrictions.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: July 2022

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