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Home quarantine for close contacts - coronavirus (COVID-19)

Overview

Anyone who has had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 may be directed to quarantine in their home, an alternative quarantine address or in government arranged accommodation.

If you are directed to quarantine, you will be issued with a quarantine direction under the Public Health Act 2005. This is a legal notice.

If you have been directed to quarantine, you must stay at the address stated on your quarantine direction for 14 days, or the date otherwise specified on the direction.

You cannot:

  • leave your residence except:
    • in an emergency
    • to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm – for example escaping risk of harm related to domestic and family violence or accessing support from a domestic and family violence support service
    • to get essential medical care
    • to get a COVID-19 test
    • as required or permitted under a direction given by an emergency officer
  • go into public places including your work or the shops. You will need to let your employer know that you cannot attend your workplace until you are told it is safe to do so
  • let anyone into your nominated premises unless they:
    • usually live with you
    • are required to enter in an emergency.

You can:

  • go into your garden or courtyard if you live in a house
  • go onto your balcony if you live in an apartment or are staying in a hotel.

If you are in quarantine and need help getting food or other essentials you should call the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349.

Help and support during quarantine

If you are in quarantine and need help getting food or other essentials you should call the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349.

Find out what support, health and wellbeing is available for you while you complete your quarantine at home.

While in quarantine, Queensland Health and the Queensland Government COVID team will call and SMS you, to check that you are adhering to your quarantine direction and to check on your health and wellbeing. These calls may come from a private number, so we encourage you to answer it as soon as possible.

Leaving home quarantine

After 14 days have passed since your potential exposure as a close contact, you can leave quarantine if:

  • you have received a negative test result from your day 12 test, and
  • you are well.

Contact tracers may not able to contact everyone directly at this time. A quarantine release notice is not essential.

Please call 134 COVID (134 268) if you have any questions or concerns about the end of your quarantine period.

Please use this letter from the Queensland Deputy Chief Health Officer, if you need proof of completion of your home quarantine as a result of the recent outbreak in Queensland.

Resources

Questions and answers

Questions about quarantine

What is quarantine?

Quarantine is when people who are well but have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 have to stay away from others to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Quarantine means staying in your home or government arranged accommodation or at another quarantine address for 14 days until the date that is stated on your quarantine direction (if issued). You must avoid contact with other people, including receiving visitors and not leave. The quarantine period is 14 days from when you may have been in contact with the person with COVID-19. This is because you may be in the incubation period (the time between getting the virus and showing symptoms).

Who has to quarantine?

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, anyone in Queensland must quarantine if they:

When someone is directed to quarantine, they may be issued with a quarantine direction under the Public Health Act 2005. This is a legal notice. A secondary contact will be required to quarantine in accordance with a quarantine direction issued to the member of their household who is the identified close contact.

Who can direct a person to go into quarantine?

Under the Public Health Act 2005:

  • the Chief Health Officer can release a Public Health Direction stating that specific groups of people need to go into quarantine
  • an emergency officer can direct a person to go into quarantine.

You can be directed to quarantine either verbally or in writing, including as a text message, email or letter.  When you get given a written quarantine direction, you must complete quarantine, even if you have not been told verbally by an emergency officer.

Even if you don’t receive a written quarantine direction but are requested to quarantine by an emergency officer (public health), either verbally or via SMS you are still required to quarantine.

What is a quarantine direction?

A quarantine direction is a legal notice issued under the Public Health Act 2005 that may be given to a person who is directed to quarantine. If the close contact is a minor, the quarantine direction will be issued to the parent, guardian or responsible adult of the minor. The quarantine direction includes:

  • person’s name, date of birth, contact details and the address they advised where they will be quarantining (i.e. residential address or alternative address)
  • date that they are required to quarantine until
  • if applicable, children in the person’s care who are to also comply with the quarantine direction
  • penalty for not complying with the quarantine direction
  • link to further quarantine information.

A secondary contact will be required to quarantine in accordance with a quarantine direction issued to the member of their household who is the identified close contact.

Who is a close contact?

#closecontact

A close contact is someone that has been determined to be a close contact of a person with COVID-19 by a public health officer in Queensland or an interstate government authority. This may be someone who has:

  • had face-to-face contact for any amount of time
  • been to a venue or location where the risk of transmission is considered high based on public health assessment
  • been to an interstate exposure venue identified by another state, territory or New Zealand – even if the exposure venue has been assessed as casual or low risk by the state, territory or New Zealand
  • been identified by public health authorities to be at high risk for developing COVID-19 as they have or may have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, e.g. in a school or other institutional setting
  • been confirmed as a contact by an interstate government authority.

What do I need to do if I have been directed to quarantine at home?

If you have been directed to quarantine at home, you must stay at the address for 14 days or the date specified on the quarantine direction from the date of exposure.

You cannot:

  • leave your home except:
    • in an emergency
    • to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm – for example escaping risk of harm related to domestic and family violence or accessing support from a domestic and family violence support service
    • to get essential medical care
    • to get a COVID-19 test
    • as required or permitted under a direction given by an emergency officer
    • to get essential medical supplies if you have a Chief Health Officer exemption to do so.
  • go into public places including your work or the shops. You will need to let your employer know that you cannot attend your workplace until the end of your quarantine period.
  • let anyone into your home unless they:
    • usually live with you
    • are required to enter in an emergency
    • are given permission by an emergency officer.

You can:

  • go into your garden or courtyard if you live in a house
  • go onto your balcony if you live in an apartment or are staying in a hotel.

If you are in quarantine and need help getting food or other essentials you should call the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349.

What do I do if I live with other people if I’m quarantining at home?

If you live with other people, they may be categorised as secondary contacts and may also be directed into quarantine at home with you for the time you are required to quarantine. This will be determined at the time of initial assessment by a public health officer.

If living with other people, you must:

  • stay in your own room as much as possible, no one else should come into the room
  • only leave your room to use the bathroom or have fresh air breaks
  • use a separate bathroom if possible or clean the bathroom immediately after each time you use it
  • have meals and medicines brought to your bedroom door
  • wear a mask if you need to open your door and move through the home, always staying more than 1.5 metres away from other people
  • clean the home regularly, especially things people touch often like door handles and light switches
  • maintain good hygiene practices like washing hands regularly, avoiding touching your face (or others’ faces) and covering coughs and sneezes.

If living with other people, you must not:

  • go anywhere in the home where there are other people, wait until they leave the room or area
  • prepare meals for other people
  • share household items.

Everyone in the household should:

  • practise good hand and respiratory hygiene
  • practise physical distancing
  • monitor their health for any COVID-19 symptoms
  • follow any directions from a public health officer or emergency officer that may be specific to that household.

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 then deliver it to your home 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 home. Do not let any delivery person into your home.

Contact the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349 for help.

Can home care and essential services like nurses still visit me at home?

These workers are not currently permitted to enter your home during quarantine unless permitted by an emergency officer. Close contacts in quarantine should discuss their in-home care needs with public health officers. When visits occur, it is essential to wear a mask, practise good hand and respiratory hygiene and maintain physical distancing.

For more detailed information, please read the specific COVID-19 advice for in-home community workers on the Queensland Health website.

Do I have to have a test while completing quarantine at home?

Close contacts

If you are directed to quarantine at home, you will be emailed a laboratory form and will be asked to attend a test centre on day 12 of your mandatory quarantine period. If you do not get tested when asked to do so, your quarantine period will be extended.

Please wear a mask when you attend the clinic for testing. When you arrive at the clinic, tell the healthcare professionals that you have been identified as a close contact of a person with COVID-19, are in quarantine and are attending for routine day 12 testing. Even if you test negative on your routine day 12 testing you must stay in quarantine for the full 14 days until the date specified on your quarantine direction. This is because you could still develop COVID-19 towards the end of the quarantine period.

Secondary contacts

If you are a secondary contact you only need to get tested if:

  • you develop COVID-19 symptoms
  • any of the people in the house test positive for COVID-19, then everyone in the house will be considered a close contact of a confirmed case.

How can I travel for testing if I’m quarantining at home?

You are allowed to leave your home to attend a fever or respiratory clinic for testing if permitted under a direction given to you by an emergency officer.

You should travel alone, use personal transport where possible, and must go directly to the clinic and return home straight away without stopping anywhere else (not even to get petrol). If you are unable to drive yourself, see if a member of your household or a friend can take you.

When travelling with other people, you must:

  • wear a mask at all times
  • sit in the back seat with the windows down
  • maintain physical distancing as much as possible
  • handle your own belongings
  • use hand sanitiser.

If you are unable to organise travel in a private vehicle, you can use a taxi or ride share service with the above-mentioned precautions. A taxi van or a taxi with a protective shield is preferred, if this is not available, you can travel by taxi or rideshare while sitting in the back seat on the passenger side.

When you arrive at the clinic, tell the health care professionals that you have been identified as a close contact of a someone with COVID-19 and are in quarantine.

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

If you or any other member of your household develops any COVID-19 symptoms at any time during your quarantine period please immediately isolate yourself from others and attend your local fever or respiratory clinic to get tested as soon as possible.

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.

What happens at the end of my quarantine if I’m quarantining at home?

You can leave home quarantine if 14 days have passed since you had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case and your day 12 test result is negative. If other household members are subject to the same quarantine requirements as you, they may also leave home quarantine.

A quarantine release notice is not essential and is currently not routinely provided.

You must continue to practise physical distancing and good hand and respiratory hygiene. If you become unwell and have any cold or flu-like symptoms return home straight away and contact your doctor.

Where can I find more information about secondary contacts?

The Management of Secondary Contacts Direction has more information about secondary contacts.

Questions about quarantine in government arranged accommodation

What is quarantine in government arranged accommodation?

Read about what happens in quarantine in government arranged accommodation including Q&As.

Questions about air crew

Can air crew who are identified as a close contact leave Queensland before completing 14 days quarantine?

Yes, only 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.

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.

Contact the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349 for help.

How can I look after my health and wellbeing during quarantine?

Keeping mentally and physically well will help quarantine feel more pleasant.

Check out some of these resources for tips and tricks on how to look after yourself:

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.