It’s important to understand what to do when it comes to testing and isolation if you have COVID-19 or are a close contact. The guidelines help you understand what process to follow depending on your situation. Following these will help you know what to do to keep yourself and others in the community safe.
It's important to note, if you have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 12 weeks and you become a close contact, no isolation requirements apply provided you have no symptoms and are not immunocompromised.
I have tested positive for COVID-19
This protocol will help you know when and how long you need to isolate for if you are COVID-19 positive.
What to do if you are a confirmed positive case:
- Isolate at home for 7 days,
- If you have no symptoms after 7 days, then no further test is required, and you can stop isolating
- If you have symptoms on day 7, remain in isolation until those symptoms clear or get clearance from a medical professional before leaving isolation
Important: If you return a positive Rapid Antigen Test (RAT), you must register your result (external link) with the Department of Health.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you will receive an SMS from WA Health. There is a link in the SMS that will take you to a web page with more information and a number of questions.
The questions will ask if you have visited any high-risk locations or need COVID-19 Care at home. These questions will help WA Health to continue to protect people at high risk of getting sick from COVID-19.
You do not need a negative COVID-19 result to leave isolation and go back to work if you have completed 7 days of isolation since testing positive, and no longer have symptoms.
What is a close contact?
A close contact is defined as:
- a household member or intimate partner of a person with COVID-19 who has had contact with them during their infectious period,
- someone who has had close personal interaction with a person with COVID-19 during their infectious period, where they spent 4 hours of cumulative contact with them in a residential setting (including a home, residential care facility, boarding school, maritime vessel, or other accommodation facility) in any 24-hour period where masks have been removed by both people during the period of contact
- someone who is informed by WA Health that they are a close contact.
I am a close contact with symptoms
This protocol will help you if you are a symptomatic close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
What to do if you are a close contact:
- Take a PCR test or RAT within 24 hours of becoming a close contact
- If positive – follow positive case guidelines
- If negative, continue to isolate until symptoms resolve and get tested as per existing protocol
- If you took a RAT, take another RAT in 24 hours
- Take a PCR test on day 6 or RAT on day 7:
- If positive – continue to follow positive case guidelines
- If negative, you can leave isolation after day 7. Once you leave isolation, for the next 7 days avoid visiting healthcare, aged, residential care facilities (including disability care facilities and mental health residential facilities) or correctional facilities, unless authorised by the Chief Health Officer or in an emergency. In this case, you must advise a relevant officer prior to attending or as soon as possible upon your arrival. Workers at those facilities can enter under strict conditions.
- Once symptoms have resolved, close contacts who are not cases should follow the protocols for ‘I am a close contacts with no symptoms’ (see below) for the balance of the 7-day isolation period.
- If a close contact tests positive, they must isolate for 7 days after their positive test result and follow the requirements for positive COVID-19 cases.
I am a close contact and have no symptoms
This protocol will help you know what to do if you are a close contact but have no symptoms. You should follow this protocol for 7 days from the date your household contact tests positive to COVID-19.
Close contacts who do not have symptoms can leave their place of isolation if they:
- Take a RAT and obtain a negative result on each day they would like to leave isolation (note: you must be able to provide evidence of the negative RAT result taken than day if requested by a relevant officer)
- If positive – follow positive case guidelines
- If symptoms develop, follow symptomatic close contact guidelines
- Wear a mask at all times outside of the home (the usual exemptions apply, including for children under 12)
- Avoid high-risk settings, including hospitals, healthcare settings, aged care facilities, residential care facilities (including disability care facilities and mental health residential facilities) and correctional facilities, unless you work at these locations and have received written or oral confirmation from your employer to continue attending work as a close contact without symptoms.
- In case you visit high-risk settings due to an emergency, you must advise a relevant officer prior to attending or as soon as possible upon your arrival. Workers at those facilities can enter under strict conditions.
Close contacts who do not have symptoms are strongly encouraged to:
- avoid non-essential gatherings and contact with people at risk of severe illness
- work from home, where possible
- notify their employer, educational facility or early learning centre of their close contact status.
Note: Relevant workers entering high risk settings are subject to additional obligations:
Close contacts with no symptoms who work in a high-risk setting must also:
- advise their employer they are a close contact
- seek oral or written confirmation from their employer to attend work
- monitor for symptoms
- immediately leave the workplace and return home if they develop symptoms or become COVID positive
- only enter or remain at the high-risk setting for the purposes of their work duties
- wear a surgical mask while at work along with any PPE requirements from their employer
- not share break areas at work with any other person
- maintain physical distancing.