Contacts of someone who has COVID-19

Advice for people who are a contact of someone who has COVID-19. Including what close, casual plus, and casual contacts need to do.

If you have been near someone with COVID-19

A contact is someone who has had exposure to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19. You are a contact if you have been near or were at a location of interest at the same time as a person with COVID-19.

Your level of exposure will depend on what actions you need to take. This will often be staying home and getting a test. The day you are exposed is day 0.

A negative test means you do not have COVID-19.

A positive test means you do have COVID-19. Public Health will contact you.

Get tested for COVID-19

There are 3 types of 'contacts':

  • Close Contacts
  • Casual Plus Contacts, only in specific circumstances eg schools
  • Casual Contacts.

The Ministry of Health will have advice for all contacts on what they need to do.

What to do if you are a contact

Anyone who was at a location of interest at the same time as a person with COVID-19 is considered a contact.

The Ministry of Health will have locations of interest and advice for people who have been at those locations. It is important that you follow the health advice and get a test as needed.

Contact tracing locations of interest | health.govt.nz (external link)

You will need to check:

  • the location and address details
  • the date and relevant times
  • instructions on what to do.

Call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have been at a location of interest or have symptoms.

If you have difficulty breathing, call an ambulance on 111.

Close Contacts

Close Contacts are at higher risk of getting COVID-19. Their contact happened when the person with COVID-19 was infectious. Close Contacts may live, work or have been at a location of interest at the same time as someone with COVID-19. For example, household members, travellers on a plane, or if you sit next to someone at work who has COVID-19.

What you need to do

If you are a household member of a COVID-19 case

Whether you are vaccinated or not, you need to:

  • stay home and self-isolate from others for 10 days from your last contact with the case
  • get a test for COVID-19 straight away, another one 5 days after your last contact with the case, and another one 8 days after your last contact with the case
  • get another test straight away if you develop COVID-19 symptoms.

If you are not a household member of a COVID-19 case

If you are fully vaccinated, you need to:

  • stay home and self-isolate from others for 7 days from your last contact with the case
  • get a test for COVID-19 straight away and another one 5 days after your last contact with the case
  • get another test straight away if you develop COVID-19 symptoms.

You are fully vaccinated if it has been 7 days or more since you got your second dose.

If you are not fully vaccinated, you need to:

  • stay home and self-isolate from others for 10 days from your last contact with the case
  • get a test for COVID-19 straight away, another one 5 days after your last contact, and another one 8 days after your last contact with the case
  • get another test straight away if you develop COVID-19 symptoms.

You are not fully vaccinated if you have had no doses, 1 dose, or it has been less than 7 days since you got your second dose.

Casual Plus Contacts

Casual Plus Contacts are people who are unvaccinated and were near someone infectious with COVID-19. This will only be in some specific situations like at a school.

What you need to do

  • Stay home for 7 days from your last contact with the case. Isolate from others in your household if you can.
  • Get a test straight away and on day 5 after your last contact with the case.
  • You can leave the house after 7 days and once you have received a negative day 5 test result.
  • Monitor for symptoms for 10 days.
  • If you develop symptoms after day 5, get a test immediately and stay home until you get a negative test result.

Casual Contacts

Casual Contacts are people who have been at a location of interest at the same time as someone infectious with COVID-19. But they may not have been near the infectious person. Casual Contacts are at lower risk of getting sick with COVID-19. 

What you need to do

  • Watch for symptoms for 10 days.
  • If you do get symptoms, get a test, and stay home until you get a negative test result.

COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms tend to arise around 2 to 5 days after a person is infected, but symptoms can take up to 14 days to show. A person with COVID-19 can pass it on to others from up to 2 days before showing symptoms.

Full list of COVID-19 symptoms

What to do if you are a secondary contact

Secondary contacts are unvaccinated household members of someone who is an unvaccinated Close Contact.

You need to stay home until the Close Contact has a negative day 5 test. If this person develops symptoms after day 5, you need to stay home until they return another negative test.

If you develop any symptoms yourself, get tested and stay home until you get a negative test.

These instructions are outlined in section 70 orders | health.govt.nz (external link)

If you are told to self-isolate

You will need to self-isolate while you wait for a negative result from a COVID-19 test. You may also be told to isolate if you are a contact of someone who has COVID-19. If you are told to self-isolate by a health official, you legally must do so immediately.

Self-isolation means staying at home and taking common-sense precautions to avoid close contact with those you live with.

What it means to self-isolate at home

  • Do not go to work or school.
  • Limit contact with others you live with — for example, sleep by yourself and limit the time you spend in shared spaces.
  • Do not share items with others in your household — for example, dishes, toothbrushes, and towels.
  • Do your own laundry.
  • Do not have visitors in your home.
  • Try not to leave your house if you have symptoms. If you need to, stay at least 2 metres away from others. We recommend you wear a face covering.
  • If you need food, prescriptions or essential items get friends or family to leave them on your doorstep, or get supplies delivered.

Guidance on self-isolation at home | health.govt.nz (external link)

If you need care while self-isolating

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

If you are identified as a contact of a case, carers must use good hand hygiene and physical distancing of 2 metres when possible. If this is not possible, they must wear personal protection equipment like disposable gloves and masks.

If you are unable to self-isolate at home

If you are unable to self-isolate at home, your local public health official can help determine where you are best able to self-isolate safely. This may be in a managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility. These facilities are in hotels in different locations across New Zealand.

More information

You can find more information and advice about close and casual contacts on the Ministry of Health’s website.

Contact tracing for COVID-19 | health.govt.nz (external link)

Financial support

There is financial support for people who need to stay at home due to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment

COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

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