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Last updated: 11 October 2021

If you are a casual contact of someone with COVID-19:

  • Get tested for COVID-19 immediately and self-isolate until you get a negative result
  • Get tested again on day 6 after your last contact with the COVID-19 positive person. If you feel well, you do not need to self-isolate while waiting for this test result.

How will I be notified I am a casual contact?

There are several ways you may find out that you are a casual contact, such as:

  1. A text or call from NSW Health
  2. A notification by your workplace or other organisation (such as school, university or child care centre)
  3. See a location you have been to on the NSW Government case locations webpage

What do I need to do?

Self-isolate immediately

Self-isolate until you receive the first negative test result, even if you are vaccinated or feel well. Please see the Self-Isolation Guidelines for more information about how to self-isolate.

Get tested for COVID-19

Get tested:

  • as soon as possible, and
  • on day 6 after your last contact with the COVID-19 positive person

If your first test is more than 4 days after your exposure to the person with COVID-19, you do not need to get the second test.

You need to be tested with a nose and throat (PCR) test even, if you don't have symptoms. Get tested at the nearest testing centre you can safely access.

At the clinic wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth at all times. Tell the testing staff that you are a casual contact.

If you feel well, you do not need to isolate while you await the results of the day 6 test.  If you work in a high risk setting, please speak to your manager before returning to work. High risk settings are healthcare, aged care, disability care, early childhood, primary school and correctional facilities.

Monitor for symptoms

You should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for at least 14 days after your last contact with a COVID-19 positive person.

If you develop symptoms at any time, isolate and get tested again as soon as possible, even if you have already received a negative test result.

What is self isolation?

Self-isolation means you must stay at your home or accommodation and remain separated from others, even if you are fully vaccinated or feel well.

Self-isolation means you cannot:

  • Go to work or school
  • Go to any public places (e.g. shops, parks, beaches)
  • Use public transport or ride share
  • Have any visitors in your home, unless they are providing healthcare, emergency maintenance or emergency services.

You are only allowed to leave your home to get a COVID-19 test, for urgent medical care or in an emergency (including to avoid injury or escape the risk of harm from domestic violence). If you leave home for any of these reasons, you must travel by private vehicle, cycle or walk. You must wear a face mask, stay 1.5m away from anyone else, and travel directly to and from where you need to go.

If you need to leave your accommodation for one of these reasons and require transport, but do not have a private vehicle, call the NSW Health Isolation Support Line on 1800 943 553 for assistance. 

What if my workplace has a surveillance testing program?

Casual contacts who have a rapid antigen test (RAT) each day until 7 days have passed since their last contact with a COVID-19 positive person, are not required to have PCR tests or self-isolate as advised in this guidance.


Current as at: Monday 11 October 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW