If you have been told you are a household close contact of someone with COVID-19:

  • Get tested for COVID-19 immediately and if you develop symptoms at any time during your self-isolation period
  • Self-isolate in your home for 14 days since the person with COVID-19 received a positive test result. If other people living in your home later test positive, you will need to continue isolating for 14 days from when the most recent person tested positive.
Last updated: 21 September 2021

How will I know if I am a household close contact?

You are a household close contact if someone living in your home has tested positive for COVID-19. Cases are required to tell people who live with them that they have tested positive and provide the name and contact number of people living in the home when asked. This helps NSW Health notify household close contacts directly and provide them information about health and welfare support.

A household close contact is the same as a close contact, however the fact that you live with a person with COVID-19 means that there is an ongoing risk of exposure if you are not able to completely self-isolate from other members of your household.

What do I need to do?

Self-isolate immediately

Everyone who has been staying with a person with COVID-19 must self-isolate for 14 days after the infected person received a positive result, even if they are fully vaccinated or feel well. This means that you are not allowed to leave your home except to get a COVID-19 test, for urgent medical care or in an emergency (including to avoid injury or escape risk of harm from domestic violence). Please see the self-isolation guidelines for more information about how to isolate.

You must get tested for COVID-19

You must be tested with a nose and throat (PCR) test as soon as possible after you find out a person you live with has COVID-19. Even if you don't have symptoms, you must get tested at your nearest testing centre. You will need another test between days 10 and 14 of your self-isolation period. 

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 at any time, you must get tested again.

You must not travel by public transport, taxi or ride-share to get your COVID-19 test. You must travel by private vehicle, cycle or walk. Wear a face mask that always covers your nose and mouth and tell staff immediately that you are a close contact of a person with COVID-19.

If you cannot go to a testing clinic, call your GP to discuss if they can arrange home testing. If your GP is unable to arrange COVID-19 home testing, your Local Health District may be able to assist you. This service may be limited to people who cannot leave home due to disability, injury, chronic health issues or old age.  

You must continue to isolate for the entire self-isolation period (14 days since the last person in your household received a positive test result), regardless of whether you return a negative result.

Monitor for symptoms

If you start to feel unwell and your symptoms are getting worse contact your GP, Healthdirect (1800 022 222) or in an emergency dial 000. Let them know you are currently self-isolating due to a household member being positive for COVID-19. Ambulance services are provided free of charge to people who are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19.

How can I self-isolate safely from someone with COVID-19?

Physically distance

The positive member of your household should self-isolate away from others as much as possible, including:

  • Staying and sleeping in a separate room
  • Using a separate bathroom, if available (otherwise each member of the household should wipe down all surfaces that have been touched with disinfectant after every use).

You should try to stay separated from everyone in the household, especially the person with COVID-19, throughout the isolation period. This includes:

  • Wearing a mask in the house unless in your own bedroom. Regularly change your mask (at least every 4 hours if unsoiled) and wash or dispose of it in a lined waste bin
  • Not sharing household items including dishes, cups, towels and bedding.  Wash these items thoroughly with soap and water after use
  • Trying not to be in a room with other people.

Practice good hygiene

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or sneeze into your elbow
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser:
    • Before entering an area where other people may go
    • Before touching things used by other people
    • After using the bathroom
    • After coughing or sneezing
    • Before putting on, and after removing face masks.
    • Before eating or drinking.
  • Regularly clean all surfaces you touch as much as possible (such as tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures) using household disinfectant or diluted bleach solution.

What if I need food or medication?

Ask your family or friends who do not live with you to help pick up groceries and medicines as needed, or you can order online or by telephone. Ask them to leave the food on your doorstep and wait until they have left before opening the door with a mask on. If you have no other way of obtaining food or other essentials call Service NSW (13 77 88).

Welfare and clinical assistance

If you need other practical support or have non-urgent health related questions during isolation call 1800 943 553.

When can I leave self-isolation?

If you do not become COVID-19 positive you can leave self-isolation 14 days since the last person in your household received a positive test result. You must only stop self-isolating if this time period has passed AND all members of the household (except those with COVID-19) have had a negative COVID-19 test taken between days 10 and 14 AND no one has any COVID-19 symptoms.   

NSW Health does not routinely notify household close contacts when they are cleared to leave self-isolation - once the conditions above have been met, you can leave self-isolation and return to your daily activities in line with the current restrictions in NSW. You must be able to show evidence of your negative COVID-19 test result taken between day 10 and 14 if requested by NSW Health or by Police.

What if I have already had COVID-19?

If you have been released from isolation after recovery from COVID-19 in the past six months, you have kept a copy of your medical clearance notice to confirm this, and you have no new symptoms, you will not be required to self-isolate. However, if you do experience any new symptoms of COVID-19 please get tested immediately. If your diagnosis was more than 6 months ago you must self-isolate immediately, get tested as soon as possible and follow the advice for household close contacts.

How do I cope with self-isolation?

Self-isolating can be difficult for you, your family and everyone living with you. Some strategies to help you cope include:

  • Keep up a normal daily routine as much as possible
  • Keep in touch with family and friends via telephone, social media or email
  • Exercise at home where possible, such as doing floor exercises, yoga, spending time in private balconies or backyards or using home exercise equipment, if available
  • Take care of yourself and try to eat healthy foods.

Mental Health support

For mental health support:

  • NSW Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511
  • Beyond Blue helpline – 1800 512 348
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14
  • Or visit the Services NSW Mental wellbeing resources
  • NSW Health has partnered with Sonder to provide a personal wellbeing service, available to help support you. The app provides access to 24/7 multilingual chat & phone access to a range of mental health, medical and wellbeing support services. You can download the Sonder app for free. You may also receive a text message from Sonder notifying you that you have free access to the app through NSW Health. Downloading the app is optional and Sonder do not retain or use your data for any other purpose than notifying you of this service.

For domestic violence support:

  • National sexual assault and domestic violence helpline – 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)
  • Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800.
Current as at: Tuesday 21 September 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW