What to do if you are a COVID-19 contact

Checklist for COVID contacts

Advice on what to do if you come in contact with someone who has COVID-19.

  1. Notified as a contact

    If you have contact with someone with COVID-19, you risk developing COVID-19 yourself.

    Your risk of getting COVID-19 depends on how much contact you had with a person who was infectious with COVID-19.

    A person is most infectious:

    • in the 2 days before their symptoms start
    • while they have acute symptoms (runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever).

    People without symptoms are also infectious around the time they test positive.

    You are at a higher risk of getting COVID-19 if you are a close contact. You are a close contact if:

    • you live with someone who has COVID-19, or stayed the night at their house
    • you spent more than 4 hours indoors in a house or other residence with a person who has COVID-19 while they were infectious.

    Your risk of getting COVID-19 is lower if you are a social contact. You are a social contact if you were in contact with someone with COVID-19 at:

    • work
    • school
    • childcare
    • an event
    • a social gathering.

  2. Get tested

    COVID-19 can take time to develop, so you should monitor for symptoms for at least 7 days after your last contact with the person who has COVID-19.

    A close contact should regularly test for at least 7 days following their last contact with the person who has COVID-19.

    A social contact should test if they have symptoms of COVID-19.

    Testing options include:

    • Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) – quick and accurate, particularly if you have symptoms, and can be purchased from pharmacies and supermarkets
    • PCR tests – for people who are at risk of becoming very sick with COVID-19.

    If you are a close contact and work in a sensitive setting, such as hospitals and aged and disability care facilities, you should check with your workplace about testing and other precautions before returning to work.

    You should stay at home if you feel unwell or have symptoms.

    Find more information on testing and if you are eligible for free RATs, see Get a COVID-19 test.

    If you test positive, you should report your result to access free medical support and COVID medicines if you are eligible. See Checklist for COVID-19 cases for steps you need to take to protect yourself and others.

  3. Follow protective behaviours

    Even if you test negative, follow these recommended steps to protect those around you:

    • avoid visiting sensitive settings such as hospitals and aged care facilities for at least 7 days:
      • close contacts are strongly recommended not to visit sensitive settings. If you need to visit, you should test negative before your visit and wear a mask
      • social contacts should test negative before your visit and wear a mask
    • wear a mask when leaving the house, including on public transport, at work, school, and other indoor spaces, especially if you’re a close contact
    • let fresh air into your home or other indoor spaces by opening windows, where possible
    • monitor for symptoms like a runny nose, sore throat, cough, or fever/chills, and stay home and test if they present.

  4. Plan ahead

    Having a plan if you test positive for COVID-19 can help you recover more easily at home and give you quicker access to COVID medicines if you’re eligible. Start by:

    Speak to a GP about how many doses of vaccine are recommended for you, what COVID medicines are available, and what you might need to do to prepare.

Reviewed 15 December 2022

SOURCE: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/checklist-contacts

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