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Isolation for people who are diagnosed with COVID-19

Updates 10 January 2022

The isolation period for confirmed cases of COVID-19:

  • starts from the date they took the test that returned a positive result
  • ends at the end of:
    • 7 days (since the date they took the test that returned a positive result) and they have not had symptoms for the last 48 hours (or if the the only remaining symptom is a very mild dry cough which is persistent but not getting worse).
    • or

    • 10 days (since the date they took the test that returned a positive result) if on day 7 of isolation they had fever and acute respiratory symptoms.

Overview

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you must immediately isolate for at least 7 days from the date you took the test that returned a positive result. You must isolate at your private home, accommodation (for example, where you are staying for a holiday), other suitable premises, or an address given to you by an emergency officer.

If you get a positive rapid antigen test (RAT) report your positive RAT result to Queensland Health

Isolation requirements

Get home (or place of accommodation)

If you are diagnosed outside your home (or the place where you are currently staying in Queensland), you must travel directly to the premises you will be isolating at by private transport, ambulance or government arranged transport. The place you will isolate must be within 2 hours driving distance of the location you were notified of being positive for COVID-19.

Private transport means either:

  • a private vehicle - a diagnosed person may drive themselves or be driven by a close contact; or
  • if you are within 5km of where you will isolate and wear a face mask, you can travel directly there on foot or by privately owned bicycle, scooter, or other personal mobility device (travel is not permitted on any personal mobility devices hired through a shared-fleet scheme such as e-scooter or e-bike sharing schemes, council bike docking schemes).

If the place you are isolating is not your permanent residence, you may be able to request an exemption to relocate to an alternative place to isolate.

Report your positive result (if needed)

If you get a positive rapid antigen test (RAT) report your positive RAT result to Queensland Health.

If you tested positive through a PCR test (ie at a testing clinic) you do not need to report your result. Testing clinics will notify Queensland Health directly.

Inform your close contacts

You must inform everyone in your household that you are a confirmed case of COVID-19 and any other close contacts.

A household member is considered to be a close contact if they have spent more than 4 hours with you in a house, accommodation or care facility setting during their infectious period.

There are specific quarantine and testing requirements for close contacts.

Stay home (or in your place of accommodation)

You’re not allowed to let anyone else into your home (or wherever you are isolating), apart from:

  • a person who usually lives there, or who is isolating or quarantining there
  • a person who is entering to provide emergency, medical, or other essential care
  • if a direction is given by an emergency officer

During your period of isolation, you must not leave where you are isolating, except to travel by private vehicle, ambulance, or government arranged transport to:

  • seek medical treatment at a hospital (such as a person leaving isolation to go to a hospital in an ambulance)
  • avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm, including: escaping a risk of harm related to sexual or domestic and family violence; or accessing support from a domestic and family violence support service.
  • In an emergency
  • If directed by an emergency officer

If you are leaving quarantine for these very limited reasons, you must wear a mask (unless not practical because of an emergency situation or risk of harm) and follow any infection control measures as directed

Read more about how to isolate.

Difference between isolation and quarantine

While both will limit your movements, quarantine is what we ask well people to do in case they’re carrying the virus. People who are actually sick with COVID-19 will be asked to isolate – and depending on how unwell they are, this may be done at home or in a healthcare facility.

Isolation means you need to stay away from others while you get better, so you don’t give the virus to anyone else. Read more about how to isolate.

Release from isolation

If you are a diagnosed case of COVID-19, you can end your isolation when any of the following takes place:

  • 7 days have passed since you took the COVID-19 test that returned a positive result and:
    • you have not had fever and acute respiratory symptoms for the last 48 hours (or the only your only remaining symptom is a very mild dry cough which is persistent but not getting worse)
    • you have not received a further direction to isolate under the Public Health Act 2005
  • 10 days have passed since you took the COVID-19 test that returned a positive result and on day 7 of isolation you had fever and acute respiratory symptoms
  • your positive result is found to be caused by a long-standing infection, and you are no longer infectious
  • a medical practitioner working within a COVID-19 healthcare framework approved by Queensland Health determines you meet the requirements for release from isolation, and authorises your release
  • a registered nurse or a medical practitioner from a treating Hospital and Health Service certifies that you meet release from isolation criteria.

You are not required to have another COVID test to end your isolation. You are unlikely to be re-infected in the 4 weeks following your COVID-19 infection. If during these 4 weeks you are identified as a close contact or develop symptoms of COVID, you are not required to undergo testing or quarantine.

Once 4 weeks have passed since ending isolation, you must:

  • get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms and, if your result determines that you have COVID, follow the isolation requirements for a diagnosed person
  • follow the testing and quarantine requirements for close contacts if you are identified as a close contact of a person who has COVID-19.

After completing your isolation period

After completing your isolation period you must:

  • follow Queensland's mandatory face mask requirements
  • monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. If you start to develop symptoms, get a PCR test and quarantine while you wait for the result.

Note: after completing your isolation period you are considered a cleared case of COVID-19. 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.

Even if you’ve had COVID-19, you should still get vaccinated. You are far less likely to get severe disease should you get COVID-19 again if you have been vaccinated.

After you have recovered, you can get vaccinated or receive your booster or third dose. You must not attend a vaccination appointment if you have any COVID-19 symptoms.

Getting tested after having COVID-19

If you have had COVID-19 you do not need to get tested for COVID-19 in the first 4 weeks after your release from isolation.

If 4 weeks have passed since your release of isolation, you must get tested as you would have done before you had COVID:

  • if you have COVID-19 symptoms, or
  • if you are a close contact. After 4 weeks from your release of isolation, you must follow the close contact testing and quarantine requirements if you are identified as a close contact (ie someone in your household has COVID-19)

You must follow the isolation requirements if you get tested, after 4 weeks have passed since you where released from isolation, and your result determines that you have COVID-19.

Contact tracing

If requested by a public health officer, you must provide:

  • the address you are isolating at
  • a contact telephone number, email address and your date of birth
  • if a parent, guardian or responsible adult of a minor diagnosed with COVID-19, provide the minor’s name and date of birth
  • the contact details, including at least a name and telephone number, of any other people who are residing in, or have recently resided in, the premises

any other information or documents required by a public health officer.

For more information

Questions and Answers about this Direction

What is a diagnosed person?

A diagnosed person is an individual who has received a positive COVID-19 test result, or who has been informed that they have tested positive for COVID-19.

This does not include individuals who have had COVID-19 and are now cleared.

Where must a diagnosed person isolate?

On being informed of a positive test result, a diagnosed person must isolate for at either:

  • their home, if their home is within 2 hours safe driving distance
  • accommodation that the person is staying at when informed they are a diagnosed person
  • other premises, including government nominated accommodation as directed by an emergency officer.

If the place you are isolating is not your permanent residence, you may be able to request an exemption to relocate to an alternative place to isolate.

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

No. All people who test positive, regardless of vaccination status, will need to isolate until they are able to be released from isolation.

What should a household member of a diagnosed person do?

A household member of a diagnosed person is considered a close contact if they have spent more than 4 hours with the person in a house, accommodation or care facility setting during their infectious period.

See the isolation and testing requirements for a close contact.

How do I get food and other essential supplies?

While you are isolating, you should arrange for contactless delivery of food and essentials to your home or accommodation.

See how to get support while in isolation.

Will I be fined if I don’t isolate?

A person will be charged penalty of $13,785 if they don’t comply, unless a person has a reasonable excuse.