Testing requirements for close contacts and COVID-19 cases

These are the isolation, testing, reporting and other requirements prescribed for the purposes of clause 7 of the Emergency Management (Exposure Sites, Contacts and Diagnosis Requirements No 7) (COVID-19) Direction 2022.

What do I need to do?

Tested positive to COVID-19

If you test positive to COVID-19, you must:

  • isolate for 7 days from the day you had your positive PCR test taken or tested positive using a rapid antigen test (date of positive test is day 0)
  • leave isolation after 7 days only if no acute symptoms, including sore throat, runny nose, cough or shortness of breath in last 24 hours of isolation
  • notify your close contacts

In addition to the above requirements, on days 8 to 10 after finishing isolation, you should:

  • wear a mask when around other people
  • not attend high risk settings (aged care, health care, disability care, correctional services). If you work in a setting where a protocol has been implemented to permit COVID-19 cases and close contacts to return to work, you must advise your employer before returning to work.
  • continue to follow this advice on days 8 to 14 if you have a weakened immune system (transplant recipient or receiving chemotherapy).

Close contacts

If you are a close contact, you must:

  • wear a mask when you leave the house for 7 days after your exposure date (12 years and older)
  • undertake 5 rapid antigen tests over the 7 days after your exposure date (with at least 24 hours between tests and one test on day 7)
  • report your rapid antigen test results if you test positive
  • not attend Tier 1 sensitive settings for 14 days after your exposure date, except for the purposes of obtaining medical care or medical supplies, or except if you are an emergency services worker attending to respond to an emergency
  • not attend Tier 2 sensitive settings for 7 days after exposure date, except for the purposes of obtaining medical care or medical supplies, or except if you are an emergency services worker attending to respond to an emergency
  • notify your employer or school or early childcare settings that you are a close contact
  • get a PCR test as soon as any symptoms develop and quarantine until you receive a result. If the result is negative, you must continue to follow the above guidelines.

A person who is a close contact and is a resident of a residential aged care facility, a disability care facility, hospital setting or a correctional facility:

  • must, while remaining at those facilities, remain quarantined, isolated and segregated from other residents (to the extent possible) while at the facility or setting and not participate in group activities with other residents (to the extent possible) for 7 days after their exposure date;
  • undertake testing as per the requirements of the facility outbreak plan
  • must follow the general community requirements for close contacts when they are outside of those settings.

In addition to the above mandatory requirements, it is strongly recommended you:

  • avoid non-essential gatherings for 7 days after your exposure date
  • avoid contact with people at risk of severe illness for 7 days after your exposure date
  • work from home where possible
  • report your rapid antigen test results even if you test negative
  • notify healthcare and high risk setting prior to arrival for, medical care or medical supplies

If you are currently in quarantine as a close contact, you can leave quarantine at 12.01am 30 April 2022 provided you continue to abide by the above guideline requirements. You must have a negative rapid antigen test result before leaving quarantine. If you are already at day 3 or later of your quarantine period, the above requirements are modified as follows:


- If you are at days 3 or 4 you must undertake rapid antigen tests on days 5 and 7.
- If you are at days 5 or 6 you must undertake a rapid antigen test on day 7.

Terms used on this page

Tier 1 sensitive settings means the following settings:

  • a residential aged care facility
  • a disability care facility
  • a residential prison or correctional facility, training centre or other place of residential custody (other than short-term holding facilities)
  • a public or private hospital

Tier 2 sensitive settings include:

  • healthcare services other than those provided in Tier 1 sensitive settings
  • general practice
  • medical specialist services and practices
  • community health services including Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services
  • dental services
  • pharmacies
  • pathology collection centres
  • mental health services and practices including drug and alcohol services
  • allied health services, including those provided by a counsellor, speech pathologist, sonographer, social worker, rehabilitation counsellor, radiation therapist, radiographer, psychologist, prosthetist / orthotist, podiatrist, physiotherapist, music therapist, osteopath, orthoptist, optometrist, occupational therapist, genetic counsellor, exercise physiologist, dietitian, counsellor, chiropractor, audiologist, art/creative art therapist, or bowen therapist
  • complementary and alternative therapy services and practices including Chinese medicine practitioners
  • reproductive services and sexual health services including termination of pregnancy
  • radiology services including screening services
  • disability and rehabilitation services.

Close contacts who work in Tier 1 and 2 sensitive sites can find more information on the Test, Trace, Isolate and Quarantine page.


Your exposure date is:

  • the date you were last in contact with a COVID-19 case
  • if you are a household member of a COVID-19 case, the date the COVID-19 case first tested positive to COVID-19

Wear a mask means a single use surgical mask.

Masks do not need to be worn in the following circumstances:

  • Due to Relevant and Significant medical condition
  • Where ability to see mouth is essential for communication
  • Where removal is required for lawful identification purposes
  • When eating or drinking (although this should be minimised in public places)
  • When under 12 years

Non-essential gatherings include but are not exclusive of:

  • Weddings and other large family gatherings/events
  • COVID Management Plan events
  • Concerts, music festivals and other indoor entertainment
  • Restaurants, hotels, pubs and nightclubs
  • Attending the gym and indoor sport
  • Conference and professional development not essential for work

Rapid Antigen Testing

Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) is an alternative to standard PCR testing.

If you have been advised you are a close contact of a person with COVID-19 and have no symptoms, you can access free rapid antigen tests from RAT Collection Points across the state.

If you test positive in a rapid antigen test, you do not need to get a PCR test to confirm the result. You are required to report positive results using the online form.

It is recommended that you also report your negative and invalid results to help provide a full picture of rates of COVID-19 testing in the state.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms (including close contacts) and test negative using a rapid antigen test, you must get a PCR test to confirm your result.

For more information about reporting your results and what your result means, visit the rapid antigen testing page.

PCR testing

You must get a PCR test as soon as possible if you have any COVID-19 symptoms (including close contacts) and quarantine until you receive a negative result.

You should also get a PCR test if you have COVID-19 symptoms and test negative on a rapid antigen test (and you must if you are a close contact).

You must also get a PCR test if you are directed to by SA Health or SA Police. This includes if you are a close contact and cannot access a RAT Collection Point or a privately obtained RAT.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms and test negative, stay at home until you are well.

Other testing options

There are many options to get PCR tested for COVID-19 in South Australia. Some require a booking and others are walk-in. Some require a referral and some do not.

If you are unsure what to do, call SA COVID Information Line on 1800 253 787.

See below a range of options to get tested:

General Practitioner (GP)

Contact your GP about getting tested for COVID-19. If you qualify for a test your GP may test you in their clinic, they may come outside to take a swab test while you remain in your car, or they may provide you with a referral to attend a drive-through testing clinic.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services testing

If you would like to know more about COVID-19, or feel that you have some symptoms, please call your local SA Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (PDF 696KB).

Cost of COVID-19 tests

There is no cost for COVID-19 testing if you are tested at SA Health or Primary Health Network (PHN) facilities. This excludes pre-travel tests.

Private providers may charge a gap for COVID-19 testing.

Translated and Easy Read resources

For testing information in languages other than English, see our Translated Resources page.
For Easy Read resources, see the Australian Government Department of Health COVID-19 Easy Read resources page.