Isolating at Home

If you test positive for COVID-19, you need to self-isolate. If you live with someone who has COVID-19 you are a household contact and need to isolate at home.  

When you need to isolate 

You need to isolate when you: 

  • are positive for COVID-19 
  • live with a person who has COVID-19 (household contact). 

Isolation can be at your home or at suitable alternative accommodation.  

How long you need to isolate 

You will need to self-isolate for at least 7 days while you recover from COVID-19.  If you are still sick, stay home. Start counting the 7 days from day zero (0). Day 0 is the day that your symptoms started or that you received a positive test result (if you do not have any symptoms). 

What self-isolation involves 

Self-isolation means staying at home for the whole time you’re required to be there, except for some very limited reasons to leave. It also means taking common-sense precautions to avoid close contact with those you live with. 

Advice for self-isolation: 

  • Stay home or at your accommodation, don’t share your room with others, and have access to your own bathroom if possible. 
  • Exercise at home or in your garden if you can, or outdoors in your neighbourhood away from other people. You cannot exercise in any shared facilities, like a public swimming pool. 
  • Limit contact with others you live with. If you cannot, you should stay at least 1.5 metres apart and wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth when near others. 
  • Don’t share items with others in your household. 
  • Do your own laundry. 
  • Don’t have visitors in your home. 
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly. 
  • Open windows to increase fresh air flow inside. 
  • Get friends or family to leave food, prescriptions or essential items on your doorstep, or get supplies delivered. 

If you’re unable to self-isolate at home 

If it’s unsafe for you to self-isolate at home, alternative accommodation may be available to you. You can request this through the online form.  

If you live with a person who has COVID-19 

If you live with a person who has COVID-19, you need to immediately isolate at home for 7 days from the day they get their positive result (or the onset of their symptoms, whichever came first).  

You need to stay at home while you are isolating, however you do not need to avoid contact with other household contacts unless you test positive for COVID-19. 

You need to get tested when the person you live with who has COVID-19 gets to day 3 and day 7 of their infection. 

You can end your isolation the same day as the first person with COVID-19 in the household if you return a negative test on day 7 and have no new or worsening symptoms.  

If another member of your household tests positive, the rest of your household can still end their isolation when the first person does, provided they do not develop any symptoms or return positive test results. However, if household contacts test positive, they will need to restart their 7 days of self-isolation. 

If you are a Close Contact but you do not live with the person who has tested positive, you do not need to self-isolate unless you develop COVID-19 symptoms. If symptoms develop, you should arrange a test. 

Close contact exemption scheme 

Because critical services are important for people’s basic needs, provide key infrastructure, and/or are part of critical supply chains, their workers can access the Close Contact Exemption Scheme to ensure critical services continue to function. 

Vaccinated and asymptomatic workers at registered critical services who are household close contacts of a COVID-19 case will be able to continue to work, as long as they return a negative rapid antigen test prior to each day/shift they are at work during the isolation period, and follow specific health protocols. They can only go to work – nowhere else. 

These workers will be able to collect free rapid antigen test kits from a collection site. 

Testing and returning to work during Omicron | 

Bubble of One 

Any business or sole trader may have a worker who is a close contact on-site if this worker isn’t customer facing and can maintain a ‘Bubble of One’ while at work (including travel to and from work). The worker must be vaccinated, asymptomatic, and able to maintain an individual ‘bubble of one’ while at work (whether indoors or outdoors). They are only allowed to go to work – nowhere else. 

Bubble of One | 

If you need home support services 

Essential care services, such as toileting, washing and feeding, can continue. 

If you’re identified as a household contact of a case, carers must use good hand hygiene and physical distancing when possible. If this isn’t possible, they must wear personal protection equipment like disposable gloves and masks. 

Information for support workers 

If you need to go into hospital 

If you or the person you are caring for have severe symptoms call 111 immediately. Severe symptoms include: 

  • finding it difficult to breathe 
  • feeling faint, passing out or is very difficult to wake up 
  • blue around the mouth or very pale and cold 
  • having severe chest pain. 

If you had a more severe illness and require hospital care, you will need more time before you can return home and resume your usual activities. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by a health professional. 

COVID-19 related medical costs are free. 

If you need support 

Many people will be able to manage self-isolation with help from friends and family, but there is help available if you need it. 

Support for families and individuals 

Support for businesses 

Extra support if you have COVID-19 or are self-isolating 

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