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Close contact quarantine and testing requirements

Latest updates

9 January 2022

Critically essential workers

Close contact testing and quarantine duration

  • When a person becomes aware that they are a close contact, they have to get tested as soon as possible only if they have COVID-19 symptoms. All close contacts still must get tested on Day 6 of their quarantine period and if they develop COVID-19 symptoms.
  • A close contact's quarantine period is defined as:
    • starting when they are informed or become aware they are a close contact of a diagnosed person
    • ending after 7 days from the date the diagnosed person took the initial test that returned a positive result (provided the close contact has no symptoms and a test on Day 6 of their quarantine returns a negative result).

8 January 2022

Overview

If you have been told or you find out that you are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19 and you must follow quarantine and testing requirements.

Definition of close contact

A diagnosed person is someone who has tested positive to COVID-19, either through a PCR or a rapid antigen test (RAT).

You are a close contact if you are a household member or a household-like contact of a diagnosed person:

  • household member is a person who ordinarily resides at the same premises or place of accommodation as the diagnosed person, and who are residing at the premises or place of accommodation at the time the diagnosed person receives their positive COVID-19 test result. You do not have to be related to the diagnosed person to be considered a household member.
  • household-like contact is a person who has spent more than four hours with the diagnosed person in a house or other place of accommodation, care facility or similar.
    Note: a person is not a household-like contact if they are in a separate part of the house, accommodation or care facility that has a separate point of entry and no shared common areas, and if they do not have contact or interaction for more than four hours.

Testing and quarantine requirements for a close contact

Once you are informed or you find out that you are a close contact, you must:

  • get tested for COVID-19 only if you have COVID-19 symptoms. You can get tested through a rapid antigen test (RAT) or a PCR test.
  • immediately travel directly to a suitable place to quarantine:
    • your travel must be by private transport, endorsed transport provider or by transport arranged by a government authority
    • a suitable place to quarantine is your home or your current place of accommodation (e.g. where you are staying during a holiday). Note that you can only travel to your home if it is no more than two hours safe driving distance from the place where you find out you are a close contact.
  • quarantine. Your quarantine period:
    • starts when you are told or find out that you are a close contact of a diagnosed person
    • ends after 7 days from the date the diagnosed person took the initial test that returned a positive result. This is provided you have no symptoms and a test on Day 6 of your quarantine returns a negative result.
  • monitor your health. If you get any COVID-19 symptoms, get tested using a RAT kit or getting a PCR test.
  • get tested on Day 6 of your quarantine period. If the test result is negative and you have no COVID-19 symptoms after 7 days of quarantine period, your quarantine ends.

Note: if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you are considered a cleared case of COVID-19 after completing your isolation period. As a cleared case, you will not be considered to be a close contact of someone else within your household that may become a diagnosed person.

If you test positive for COVID-19

If at any point of your quarantine as a close contact you test positive for COVID-19, you are considered a diagnosed person:

  • you must isolate and follow the first steps if you have COVID-19
  • if you tested positive on a rapid antigen test (RAT), you should report your positive RAT result to Queensland Health.
  • You do not need a PCR test to confirm a positive RAT result.
  • You do not need to report a PCR test. The testing clinic will do that for you.

Most people will have minor symptoms just as you would for many other mild viruses, particularly if you are vaccinated and otherwise healthy. The majority of people will be able to manage their symptoms at home while isolating. It is possible to have mild symptoms at the start of your illness, but become sicker over time.

You should seek medical advice if you:

  • are not improving after 2 or 3 days
  • have a chronic health condition
  • are pregnant.

You should only go to hospital or call Triple Zero (000) if you have severe symptoms like:

  • difficulty breathing even when walking around the house
  • coughing up blood
  • significant chest pain
  • collapse or fainting.

If you need to call Triple Zero (000), ask for an ambulance. If you can, explain to the operator that you have COVID-19.

If you have a speech and/or hearing impairment and use telecommunication devices for the deaf, contact the Text Emergency Relay Service on 106.

Read more about symptoms, medical care and how to look after yourself at home.

During your quarantine as a close contact

During your quarantine period, you must not leave the house or accommodation you are quarantining in except for these permitted purposes:

  • to get a COVID-19 test if you develop COVID-19 symptoms or as part of the testing requirements as a close contact. You should not leave quarantine to buy a Rapid Antigen test (RAT). You can, however, travel to a testing clinic to get a RAT or a PCR test.
  • to transport a diagnosed person or close contact you are quarantining with to get a COVID-19 test
  • to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm
  • in an emergency
  • to perform work as a critically essential worker (and you can meet all the requirements of one)
  • as required or permitted by an emergency officer.

Any travel you do, for the permitted purposes above, while you are in quarantine must be by:

Who can enter the place you are quarantining in

You must not allow anyone to enter where you are quarantining, unless they:

  • usually live there or are quarantining with you
  • are required to enter in an emergency
  • are allowed to enter by an emergency officer.

If you have household members who are not close contacts

If you are a close contact but some or all of your household members are not a close contact or a diagnosed case, they do not have to quarantine. However, you should remain separate from other people that ordinarily reside in the same place as you.

If you become a diagnosed case, anyone in your household will become a close contact.

If children are close contacts

Children must follow the same requirements as adults if they are close contacts.

Children cannot go to school or childcare if they are a close contact. This applies even if you are a critically essential worker and are allowed to leave quarantine to work.

Face masks

You must wear a face mask (unless it is not practicable for safety reasons):

  • when leaving your house or accommodation, for a permitted purpose, during your quarantine period.

Anyone who is transporting you as a close contact must wear a face mask at all times as well.

Release from quarantine

You can end your quarantine after 7 days of quarantine if you:

  • receive a negative test result (RAT or PCR test) taken on Day 6 of your quarantine period.
  • do not have COVID-19 symptoms.

Note: Remember that the days of your quarantine period start counting from the date the diagnosed person took the initial test that returned a positive result.

See what to do if you test positive as a close contact.

After completing your quarantine period

Once you complete your quarantine period, you are not considered a close contact.

For 7 days after completing your quarantine period, you must:

  • monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • get a COVID test if you develop COVID-19 symptoms, and quarantine while you wait for the result.

Critically essential workers

An employer in a critical industry can identify and create a list of critically essential roles. If you are a close contact required to perform a critically essential role, you can leave quarantine as long as you:

  • have no COVID-19 symptoms
  • are fully vaccinated.

See the critically essential worker requirements for employers and workers.

Difference between an essential worker and a critically essential worker

An essential worker is someone who provides essential services and who is unable to work from home. This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses and other front-line medical staff, retail workers, haulage drivers and police officers.  Essential workers that are a close contact of a diagnosed person are not allowed to leave quarantine to carry out their work.

A critically essential worker is someone who performs a critically essential role in a critical industry. A critically essential worker is allowed to leave quarantine as a close contact, under certain conditions, to carry out a critically essential role.

Whether you are an essential worker or a critically essential worker, your children can attend school or childcare from the beginning of the 2022 term as long as they are not considered a close contact. See frequently asked questions about the 2022 start of term in Queensland.

Air crew

Queensland-based, Australian Defence Force or international air crew who are identified as a close contact are allowed to leave Queensland before completing their quarantine if they:

  • have no COVID-19 symptoms; and
  • leave Queensland on a crew-only flight to travel overseas and all crew on board the flight wear a face mask; and
  • travel directly to embark the crew-only flight using private transport or transport arranged by an airline operator.

For more information

Questions and answers about this Direction

Questions about quarantine — close contacts

What if I become a diagnosed person while in quarantine?

If you are a close contact and at any point you test positive for COVID-19, you must:

You do not need to get a PCR test to confirm a positive rapid antigen test (RAT).

I’m vaccinated. Does this mean I quarantine for a shorter period?

No. quarantine and testing requirements for close contacts are the same regardless of your vaccination status.

I’m a close contact, what do I do if my Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) is positive?

If you get a positive rapid antigen test (RAT) they must:

You do not need to get a PCR test to confirm a positive rapid antigen test (RAT).

What happens if I develop symptoms during quarantine if I’m quarantining at home?

If you have COVID-19 symptoms that are life threatening or urgent:

Call Triple zero (000). Tell the operator that you are in quarantine.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms that are not urgent:

Call 134 COVID (134 268) to speak to someone about your health.

When do I have to wear a face mask if I’m quarantining at home?

You must wear a face mask:

  • when leaving your house or accommodation, for a permitted purpose, during your isolation period
  • until 14 days have passed since you started your isolation as a close contact and you are allowed to leave isolation on or before day 7

unless it is not practicable for safety reasons.

Anyone who is transporting you as a close contact must wear a face mask at all times as well.

When can I visit a family member in hospital, residential aged care, disability accommodation or prison?

If you have been released from quarantine as a close contact , you are not permitted to enter a vulnerable facility as a visitor until 14 days have passed since you started isolation, unless an exception applies under the Hospital Entry Direction (No.7), the Residential Aged Care Facility (No.11), the Shared Disability Accommodation Service (No.26) or, for a prison, the COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for workers in a high risk setting Direction.

How can I walk my dog if I am in quarantine?

Unfortunately, if you are in quarantine, you not permitted to take your pet for a walk or any exercise outside your home. However, you can still keep them mentally stimulated by:

  • giving them multiple smaller meals throughout the day rather than one or two larger meals
  • if you are permitted, you can play fetch or tug games if you have a backyard
  • teaching your pet a new obedience command or trick
  • providing a treat dispenser toy to keep them stimulated.

It is best if your pet can remain with you while you undertake quarantine.

If you feel your pet cannot stay in quarantine with you, we recommend having a plan in place to make other arrangements, such as organising for them to be cared for at a boarding kennel, or be cared for by family or friends. Relocating the pet should be the last option.

To prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 to the community, it is not recommended to ask friends, family or neighbours to walk your dog while you are in quarantine

What do I do with my pet if I test positive and have to go to hospital?

We recommend having an emergency plan in place for the care of your pet, just in case you become unwell or are hospitalised.

This could involve:

  • having an emergency kit ready with leads, collars, dry food or medicines that your pet needs
  • ensure your emergency kit has been sanitised and placed outside for someone to collect
  • in the first instance, it is recommended your pet go into a boarding kennel or similar. If this isn’t possible, they should stay with family, friends or a neighbour while you’re away
  • make sure you have all emergency contacts written down for the kennel or person that may care for your pet
  • also tell someone else what your emergency plan is so they can make arrangements for you, if needed.

If you are hospitalised or must quarantine in accommodation that is not your usual residence, and there is no one in the household to care for your pets, other arrangements need to be made for the care of your pets. This may include arranging a boarding kennel or cattery, or a second option could be to send them to the home of friends, family or a neighbour for the duration of your quarantine period if it is possible to do so in a COVID-safe way.

What happens if my pet becomes sick while I am in quarantine?

If you are in quarantine and your pet becomes unwell, it is important to remember not to break quarantine to take your pet to the vet. By doing this, you could put your vet, their nurses and other pet owners at risk of infection.

It is always a good idea to ring your vet first, let them know you’re in home quarantine and discuss the best way to work with you to ensure your pet will receive the care they need, while they can keep themselves and their staff safe.

It’s best to ask for advice on how to care for your pet from home. If your pet needs to be seen, you should ask family, a friend or a neighbour to take your pet to the vet, or even see if your vet can deliver any medication.

If a person I served at a restaurant / shop / retail store tests positive, am I a close contact?

No. Close contacts will be defined as those who usually live with or who have stayed in the same household for more than 4 hours during their infectious period.

There may be exceptional circumstances where a person who isn’t a household contact is deemed a close contact by a health worker.

If I had dinner with my friend and they test positive, am I a close contact?

No. Close contacts will be defined as those who usually live with or who have stayed in the same household for more than 4 hours during their infectious period.

There may be exceptional circumstances where a person who isn’t a household contact is deemed a close contact by a health worker.

Questions about support, health and wellbeing

How can I get food and medication if I’m quarantining at home?

You can get food and medication while in quarantine by doing the following:

  • Ask friends or family members you don’t live with to get food and medication to leave at your door.
  • If you need a prescription filled arrange this with your usual pharmacist or GP. They can deliver it to your house or you can let your friend or family member know where to collect the medication. Read more about getting medicines and accessing health services .
  • Arrange a food delivery service. Have all food left outside your house. Do not let any delivery person into your nominated premises.

What support is available to me while I’m in quarantine?

Find the right service for your coronavirus (COVID-19) enquiry.

We ask that you please be patient, as most services are currently experiencing a high volume of calls.