​The Communicable Diseases Network Australia​​ has identified health care facilities, residential aged care facilities, boarding schools, prisons, homeless shelters and other residential settings as being at high risk from COVID-19 infections.​​

Last updated: 30 December 2020

Download as PDF: NSW Health guidance for households of people working in high risk settings

Do I need to isolate?

If you work in a high risk setting you do not need to isolate unless you have been identified as a close contact or have been to a location identified as an area of concern where people are asked to test and self-isolate. Staff working in high risk settings should be careful with their precautions to avoid introducing infections into their workplaces. In considering their infection risks, staff should include an assessment of the risks posed by members of their own household. This may include persons diagnosed with COVID-19, or people have been identified as a close contact of someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or a member of your household has developed symptoms and is awaiting a test result for COVID-19. There are others who work in situations that are considered high risk exposure. These include

  • crew of passenger aircraft
  • health care and aged care workers
  • support workers in disability residential situations
  • other critical service workers.

How will I know if I have COVID-19?

Check for symptoms

Monitor themselves for symptoms and ask their housemates to do the same. Watch particularly for:

  • fever (37.5°C or higher) or history of fever (night sweats, chills)
  • cough
  • shortness of breath (difficulty breathing)
  • sore throat
  • nausea/diarrhoea
  • loss of smell
  • loss of taste.
  • fatigue
  • runny nose
  • joint pains
  • acute blocked nose (congestion)

Unexplained chest pain and conjunctivitis have also been reported as symptoms of COVID-19.

Have a test

If you or your housemates develop symptoms, you should seek help and be tested as soon as possible. Remain isolated until a clear result is received.

Testing options include:

Where possible, travel by private vehicle. Use a surgical mask when in the presence of other people, or when attending medical care.

Other people sharing a house with you

If you are sharing your home with others you should, as much as possible

  • encourage and model good hand hygiene, and cough and sneeze etiquette
  • avoid sharing household items
  • ask any household member at higher risk of exposure to wear a mask when in the same room
  • avoid sharing the same rooms, where possible
  • practice physical distancing as much as possible.

Further guidance is available in the NSW Health self-isolation guidelines​.

What do I do if my housemate is a close contact?

If your housemate is deemed as a close contact, they will need to get tested immediately and self-isolate for 14 days. You will also need to self isolate until the close contact has received an initial  negative result.

During this 14-day period if you cannot sufficiently self-isolate from your housemate and alternative accommodation is not available, you will need to isolate together for 14 days. You cannot go to work while in home isolation.

Regardless of their first COVID-19 test result, your housemate will need to remain in self-isolation until 14 days has passed. On day 12 of their isolation period, your housemate must have another test to confirm that they have not developed a COVID-19 infection. You do not need a test unless you develop COVID-19 symptoms.

What do I do if my housemate develops symptoms?

If your housemate(s) develops symptoms, please ensure they get tested. You cannot go to work until the close contact has received a negative result. Your housemate regardless of the test result will need to remain in self-isolation until 14 days has passed and they have a negative COVID test done on days 10-12 of their isolation period. You do not need a test unless you develop COVID-19 symptoms.

Speak to your employer

A person working in a high risk setting who considers that there might be a risk of them introducing COVID-19 into their workplace because of a household contact should discuss this risk with their supervisor. Alternative duties could be identified for the infection risk period.​

Current as at: Wednesday 30 December 2020
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW