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Close Contacts

I’m a close contact - What to do

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the Northern Territory, it’s likely that you may be exposed to someone with COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19 yourself.

Here is some information to help guide you on what to do if you are a close contact.

You will be notified of being a close contact by another COVID-19 positive person. Public exposure sites are no longer listed on the website.

A person is considered a close contact if:

  • They reside in the same household /premises as a COVID-19 positive person
  • Have spent four hours or more indoors with a COVID-19 positive person while they were infectious.
  • A person’s infectious period is usually the two days before they developed symptoms, or two days before they tested positive if they did not have symptoms.

Isolation requirements for fully vaccinated people

If you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and are a close contact you must immediately quarantine for 7 days.

Day zero of your isolation period starts on the day you were last in contact with the infected person.

If you were in contact with an infectious person at 2pm on 12 January 2022, this is Day 0. Your Day 7 is 19 January 2022.  You can exit at noon on the day your isolation period ends.

You will need to have a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test:

  • Within 3 days of the start of your isolation period
  • On Day 6 of your isolation period

Isolation requirements for unvaccinated people

If you are unvaccinated against COVID-19 and are a close contact you must immediately isolate for 14 days.

Day zero of your isolation period starts on the day you were last in contact with the infected person.

You will need to have a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test:

  • Within 3 days of the start of your isolation period
  • On Day 6 of your isolation period
  • On Day 12 of your isolation period

If you receive a positive COVID-19 test, your isolation period will start again from the day the test was taken.

You can leave isolation if you have received negative test results, have no symptoms and have completed the required days. This also applies to close contacts who have continued to live with one or more confirmed cases during their isolation.

Close contacts who are essential workers

Essential workers, who are close contacts undertaking isolation, may leave isolation to undertake their essential work if:

  • they have no symptoms
  • are fully vaccinated, having had at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine
  • have a negative Rapid Antigen Test each day before attending work
  • monitor for symptoms.

Essential workers are not required to go to work if they are close contacts in isolation, but can choose to. A list of essential workers is available.

Children who are close contacts

Children are considered vaccinated for the purposes of isolation and will need to isolate for 7 days.

Children who are close contacts undertaking isolation, may leave isolation to attend childcare, pre-school or school if they have no symptoms of COVID-19.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • fever (temperature 37.5C or higher)
  • chills or night sweat
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • tiredness
  • difficulty breathing
  • headache
  • muscle pain (myalgia)
  • loss of smell
  • distortion of sense of taste (dysgeusia)
  • nausea and vomiting
  • joint pain
  • loss of appetite
  • runny nose and acute blocked nose (congestion).

Household contacts of a close contact

Household contacts of a close contact are not required to isolate. However, you need to monitor your symptoms for 14 days and get tested should symptoms develop.

Isolation Requirements

You are required to isolate at home or a suitable place for at least seven days. This means you cannot leave your home unless it is an emergency, you require essential medical care or if you are escaping family violence.

You may go outside into your private backyard, courtyard or balcony as long as there is no one else who is not in isolation with you there.

Visitors cannot come to your home while you are isolating, with the exception of healthcare or disability professionals providing an essential service – you should tell them that you have tested positive for COVID-19 so they can take appropriate precautions.

You can ask friends or family members you don’t live with to get food and medication for you. Make sure they leave it at your door. You cannot have contact with anyone delivering any supplies.

You can arrange a food delivery service. Have all food left outside your house. Do not let any delivery person into your home or accommodation.

If you need a prescription filled, arrange this with your usual pharmacist or GP. They can deliver it to your home or accommodation, or you can let your friend or family member know where to collect the medication.

You also need to stay away from other people in your household.

  • Stay and sleep in a separate bedroom
  • Use a separate bathroom if available, or clean a shared bathroom after each use
  • Do not spend time in the same room as other people in your house
  • Do not share household items including dishes, cups, towels, and bedding
  • Avoid common areas of the household – if unavoidable, wear a mask when in common areas and clean the area with detergent and disinfectant after use

What if I test positive for COVID-19

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

If you test positive for COVID-19 while in isolation as a close contact, you need to follow the steps identified in the COVID-19 checklist. Information on what to do if you have COVID-19.

Remember, if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, get tested immediately.