Close contacts

Who is a close contact?

In South Australia a ‘close contact’ is defined as:

  • a household member or intimate partner of a person with COVID-19 during their infectious period
  • someone who has had close personal interaction with a person with COVID-19 during their infectious period:
    • for 15 minutes or more and
    • where masks are not worn by the person and the COVID-19 case and
    • in close physical proximity and
    • in an indoor setting
  • someone who has been notified by SA Health that they are a close contact
  • someone who has been to an exposure site listed on the SA Health website.

People with COVID-19 are considered infectious two days before their symptoms started or if they didn’t have any noticeable symptoms, they are considered infectious two days before they had their positive COVID-19 test taken. The infectious period ends 10 days after they had their positive test taken.

As cases increase, some close contacts may not receive an SMS from SA Health. If you know you are a close contact, please do not wait to be contacted – get tested and quarantine immediately.

What does a close contact need to do?

If someone you have been in close contact with tells you that they have tested positive to COVID-19, please follow the advice below.

Close contacts are required to:

  • immediately quarantine for 7 days since they had contact with a COVID-19 positive person or were at the exposure location (when calculating the quarantine period the day of exposure is day 0)
  • get an initial COVID-19 test
  • get a COVID-19 test again on day 6 after exposure (a negative day 6 test is required to be released from quarantine)
  • get a COVID-19 test again immediately if symptoms develop
  • not attend high risk settings or COVID Management Plan events for 14 days after exposure
  • wear a surgical mask when around others
  • avoid contact with vulnerable people (young children, elderly, pregnant, people with chronic health conditions), avoid non-essential activities, avoid working across worksites and avoid shared spaces and maintain physical distancing on days 8 to 14 after exposure.

What kind of COVID-19 test should I have?

If you are a close contact, you can access a kit of two free rapid antigen tests to complete your required test. You must register before collecting your kits from the RAT Collection Point.

Rapid antigen tests are an alternative to standard PCR testing for close contacts.

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms while in quarantine, use a rapid antigen test if you have one. If you don’t have access to any more rapid antigen tests, get a PCR test. If you don’t have access to a rapid antigen test for your day 6 test, get a PCR test.

Find out more information about reporting your result and what your result means on the rapid antigen testing page.

How do I safely quarantine?

As a close contact, reduce your physical contact with people, including those who are living in the same home with you.

Find more information about how to safely quarantine at home is available on the isolation and quarantine advice page.

What if I develop symptoms while in quarantine ?

If you develop any COVID-19 symptoms while in quarantine, get a COVID-19 test as soon as symptoms develop. Use a rapid antigen test if you have one. If you don’t have access to rapid antigen tests, get a PCR test.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms and test negative using a rapid antigen test, you need to get a PCR test to confirm your result.

If you are leaving your home to get a test, wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose and do not stop anywhere on your way to and from the testing or RAT Collection Point.

What if I test positive while in quarantine?

If you test positive using a rapid antigen test, you must:

  • report your result within 24 hours using the online form
  • isolate for 10 days from the day you had a positive result
  • notify your close contacts that you have tested positive.

If you get a PCR test and receive a positive COVID-19 test result, you will receive your result by a SMS or phone call from SA Health and/or the laboratory.

You must remain in isolation where you are.

If you test positive, you do not need to get your remaining required COVID-19 tests.

Read more information about your positive result, include how to isolate on the testing positive to COVID-19 page.

What if I have already had COVID-19?

If you have recovered from previously testing positive to COVID-19, you will not be considered a close contact for 30 days after you are cleared.

After 30 days, you will still be considered a close contact and need to quarantine and get tested.

Mental health support

It’s normal to feel stress or worry when in quarantine.

For urgent assistance, contact the Mental Health Triage Service (24/7) on 13 14 65.

Visit the COVID-19 Mental Health Support page for a range of support services and other resources for adults, children, and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.