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Information for close contacts

What is a close contact?

Advice for close contacts

Testing of close contacts

Vaccinations and close contacts

 

What is a close contact?

Close contact COVID-19 image

You will be told you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 if you live with someone with COVID-19, or have been in the same place at the same time as someone infectious with COVID-19 and had a higher risk of exposure. This could be because, for example, you:

  • live together
  • have seen them frequently or for a significant amount of time (e.g. if you’re in a relationship, have shared custody arrangements)
  • have been near each other for long enough to be at risk 

If you are unwell or are worried you can call Healthline for free anytime on 0800 358 5453. Healthline also has interpreters for those who need them.

If you are very unwell or having difficulty breathing call 111 and request an ambulance. 

 

Advice for close contacts

Hygiene - close contact image

If you are told you are a close contact you will need to get tested immediately, then go home and self-isolate. This means you should not leave your house or have visitors in your home. You also need to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and get tested again if any develop. 

While you're self-isolating you will get regular calls from a health professional to check you are safe and have essential items you need. They'll also tell you when you can finish self-isolating.

If it not safe for you or your household to isolate at home, then you may need to go to a managed isolation or quarantine facility. A health professional will check this with you and discuss your options.

If you live with someone who has COVID-19 you will need to follow these instructions:

  • While the case is self-isolating you also need to stay home (this will be for at least 14 days). Once they have been released from self-isolation you need to carry on self-isolating for at least 10 days more days. You can then finish self-isolating if your tests are negative, you are symptom free, and if no-one else in your home has also got COVID-19. If anyone else in your home does get COVID-19 you will need to stay home for longer, and will be given new advice by the health team. 

  • Get tested immediately, and 5 days after the person you live with received their positive result. You will then need to get tested 5 and 8 days after the person with COVID-19 has been released. If you develop symptoms at any point you will need to get tested again. You will be told when and where to get tested. 

  • Others you live with should follow this advice too. If anyone else in your home gets COVID-19 you will need to stay home for longer, and will be given new advice by the health team. 

 All other close contacts need to follow these instructions:

  • Stay home and self-isolate for at least 10 days from when you were last exposed to the person with COVID-19. You will be told when you can finish isolating. You will need to be symptom free for at least 24 hours, and have received a negative day 8 test result.
  • Get tested immediately, and 5 and 8 days after you were last exposed to the person with COVID-19.
  • Others you live with should stay home until you receive a negative day 5 test result. If you or they feel unwell they need to remain at home until any further tests come back negative. 

 

Testing for close contacts

covid-19 testing image

Close contacts are required to get tested regularly. If you develop symptoms you will need to have additional tests. A health professional will contact you to explain when you need to get tested, and can help you find a testing centre.

Tests are free. You can get a COVID-19 test from your family doctor, urgent care centre or community testing centre.

Learn more about getting tested.

 

Getting vaccinated

Getting vaccinated image

Everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand aged 5 and over can book their free COVID-19 vaccination. This is the best way to protect yourself and those you love.

However if you are a close contact you need to wait until you're told you no longer need to self-isolate. 

If you or a household member had an appointment scheduled and need to re-arrange it because you are self-isolating, you can change it at www.bookmyvaccine.nz or by calling the vaccine helpline on 0800 28 29 26.

Can I leave the house?

You should not leave the house for any reason while you are self-isolating, except to get tested or receive urgent medical help. This also means you should not use public transport or taxis. You also should not see visitors or have them in your home. 

 

How do I get essential items (e.g. food, medicine)?

Where possible ask friends or family to shop for you. If this is not possible order supplies online. Make sure any deliveries are left outside your home for collection.

Support is available for those who need it. The Ministry of Social Development has information about what help you can get, and you can speak to your health professional if you are a close contact. 

 

Can I work or go to school?

You should not go to work or school. If you are unable to work from home during this time your employer (or you, if you are self-employed) may be able to apply for leave support. Visit the Work and Income website for more information.

 

Should I stay away from other family members?

To limit the spread of COVID-19 amongst your family and household, if possible you should:

  • stay 2 metres away from others in your home
  • not share a bed or bedroom with anyone else in your home
  • minimise the time you spend in shared spaces such as bathrooms, kitchens and sitting rooms as much as possible and keep shared spaces well ventilated
  • clean common shared surfaces, such as taps or work benches 
  • not prepare food for others in your home

If this is not possible in your home you should speak to public health staff about moving into a managed isolation facility. This will help to keep your family or household safe.

 

Can I get medical assistance?

If you need urgent medical help or are having difficulty breathing call 111 and request an ambulance. Tell them you are self-isolating when you call.

If you are worried, have questions or need advice you can call Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453. Healthline is available 24/7 and has interpreters available. You can also contact your GP.

Before you enter any healthcare facility clean your hands with hand sanitiser and put on a face mask.

Can I leave the house?

You should not leave the house for any reason while you are self-isolating, except to get tested or receive urgent medical help. This also means you should not use public transport or taxis. You also should not see visitors or have them in your home. 

 

How do I get essential items (e.g. food, medicine)?

Where possible ask friends or family to shop for you. If this is not possible order supplies online. Make sure any deliveries are left outside your home for collection.

Support is available for those who need it. The Ministry of Social Development has information about what help you can get, and you can speak to your health professional if you are a close contact. 

 

Can I work or go to school?

You should not go to work or school. If you are unable to work from home during this time your employer (or you, if you are self-employed) may be able to apply for leave support. Visit the Work and Income website for more information.

 

Should I stay away from other family members?

To limit the spread of COVID-19 amongst your family and household, if possible you should:

  • stay 2 metres away from others in your home
  • not share a bed or bedroom with anyone else in your home
  • minimise the time you spend in shared spaces such as bathrooms, kitchens and sitting rooms as much as possible and keep shared spaces well ventilated
  • clean common shared surfaces, such as taps or work benches 
  • not prepare food for others in your home

If this is not possible in your home you should speak to public health staff about moving into a managed isolation facility. This will help to keep your family or household safe.

 

Can I get medical assistance?

If you need urgent medical help or are having difficulty breathing call 111 and request an ambulance. Tell them you are self-isolating when you call.

If you are worried, have questions or need advice you can call Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453. Healthline is available 24/7 and has interpreters available. You can also contact your GP.

Before you enter any healthcare facility clean your hands with hand sanitiser and put on a face mask.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 you need to get a test.

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Last updated 21.1.2022

For health advice call Healthline for free anytime on 0800 611 116
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