Changes to COVID Close Contact Rules

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Last week changes occurred to rules about being a close contact of a person who has tested positive to COVID-19 and to workforce vaccination requirements.

Close contact rules

From Friday 22nd April, if you’re a household or close contact of someone who has tested positive to COVID-19 and don’t have COVID-19 symptoms, you no longer need to self-isolate.

However, you still must follow the rules in the Household and Close Contact Guidelines. If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 12 weeks, you don’t have to follow the guidelines.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you must self-isolate for seven days from the date of your positive test and follow the managing COVID-19 safely at home advice.

Workforce vaccination requirements

There have also been changes to workforce vaccination requirements. As of Friday 22nd April, the rules for essential vaccination for key workforces ended. Which workers need to be vaccinated will be based on workplace health and safety risk assessments.

Aged care and disability workers will still need to be vaccinated.

These changes mean the critical worker exemptions from isolation rules will no longer be required.

NSW Health have developed the following steps for employers to consider when managing the risks associated with household and close contacts in the workplace:

  • Household and close contacts should be allowed to work from home where practicable
  • Employers should undertake a risk assessment before approving a household or close contact returning to work if they can’t work from home
  • Employers may ask household and close contacts to do a rapid antigen test before they attend work, even if they don’t have symptoms
  • Employers may direct all people in the workplace to wear masks except while eating or drinking or where a mask could create a safety issue
  • Employers may direct household and close contacts not to use shared facilities such as tea rooms at the same time as other people
  • Household and close contacts might be allocated work that involves minimal interaction with other people and/or in well-ventilated areas or outdoors, where possible.
  • Household and close contacts may be encouraged to maintain physical distance from others at all times
  • Employers should strongly encourage or, if lawful and reasonable, direct employees to receive a booster vaccination against COVID-19
  • Ensure COVID safe plans reflecting these, and other measures are signed off by or on behalf of the employer.

To stay up-to-date with changes to COVID-19 public health orders, please go to: COVID-19 related legislation - NSW legislation

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