• A casual contact is someone who has been near a person with COVID-19 while they were infectious but who is at lower risk of being infected than a close contact.
  • There are two ways to know if you are a casual contact:
  1. NSW Health will contact you directly by text message or phone call. This could be because you have provided your contact details when you checked into a venue.
  2. NSW Health announces COVID-19 case locations and venues of concern through the media, on NSW Health social media channels and on the NSW Government website. Please check the website regularly to know if you are a casual contact and what you need to do. If you have not been contacted directly by NSW Health, you may just need to monitor for symptoms.
  • All casual contacts need to watch for symptoms for up to 14 days after your last casual contact with the person who has COVID-19.

This factsheet has been translated into various community languages, see translated resources.


Last updated: 10 March 2021
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Do I need to self-isolate and get tested?

You should get tested as soon as possible and isolate in your home or another suitable place of residence until you receive your result. You can leave isolation if you receive a negative result. You should still watch for symptoms after you have received your results. 

Do I monitor for symptoms?

All casual contacts should monitor for symptoms for 14 days after you last had contact with a person with COVID-19

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • fever (37.5°C or higher) or history of fever (night sweats, chills)
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath (difficulty breathing).
  • runny nose
  • loss of taste
  • loss of smell

Other reported symptoms of COVID-19 include fatigue, acute blocked nose (congestion), muscle pain, joint pain, acute blocked nose (congestion), headache, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting, loss of appetite, unexplained chest pain and conjunctivitis.

What do I do if I develop symptoms?

If symptoms develop you should get tested immediately:

You should travel directly to the doctor or COVID-19 clinic by foot (where practical) or private car and wear a mask. NSW Health advises you not to use public transport.

You need to remain isolated until you receive a negative test result, for further information see the advice in the home isolation guidance for people suspected to have COVID-19 infection.

If you become severely unwell and it's a medical emergency you should phone 000. Tell the ambulance staff that you are a casual contact of a person with COVID-19.

What if I’m identified as a casual contact and I’m away from home?

You should get tested as soon as possible and isolate in your accommodation until you receive your result. If you cannot effectively isolate in your current accommodation (for example, in a tent or shared cabin), you will need to find alternative appropriate accommodation (for example, a hotel). You should only travel home if you receive a negative result.

What if I’ve been to a venue where there has been a COVID-19 case but I haven’t been contacted?

If you know you have been to a venue where a COVID-19 case has been reported, but have not been contacted by NSW Health, you may not meet the definition of a casual contact. Check the latest COVID-19 case locations to see if you may be casual contact, or may simply need to monitor for symptoms.


Current as at: Wednesday 10 March 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW