COVID-19 update: changes to close and casual contacts

22 December 2021

Read all about the Queensland Government’s recently announced changes to requirements for close and casual contacts, and how to manage a COVID-19 case in the workplace.

NOTE: This information has been superceded with new rules that came into effect from 31 December 2021. View the latest news item from 31 December 2021 for updated information.

The changes

Due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and the high vaccination rate, the changes to quarantine and isolation requirements scheduled to commence on 1 January 2022 was brought forward and commenced from 1am, 22 December 2021.

The changes mean that fully vaccinated close contacts will only be required to quarantine for seven days rather than the previous 14 day requirement.

Read more below about how casual and close contacts are to be managed, as well as the recommended procedures and risk management approach for businesses.

Read about the changes

How to manage casual and close contacts

Casual contacts

Casual contacts will need to:

  • Get a COVID-19 PCR test immediately, and
  • Home quarantine until receiving a negative test result.

Casual contacts are also encouraged to wear a mask, when outside their home, for 14 days following exposure.

Vaccinated close contacts

Vaccinated close contacts will need to:

  • Quarantine for 7 days
  • Get a COVID-19 PCR test immediately, and on day 5.

If the day 5 test is negative, the contact may leave home quarantine on day 8, but must observe some additional precautionary measures until day 14 including:

  • Wearing a mask, when outside their home
  • Not visiting high-risk settings, such as hospitals, residential aged care, disability care accommodation and correctional facilities.

Vaccinated people who live in the same household as the contact do not need to quarantine; but are required to get a COVID-19 PCR test on day 1 and day 5.

Unvaccinated people who live in the same household as the contact must follow the same quarantine and testing requirements as the contact, unless they can be separated from the contact.

Unvaccinated close contacts

Unvaccinated close contacts will need to:

  • Quarantine for 14 days
  • Get a COVID-19 PCR test immediately, and on day 5 and day 12.

If the day 12 test is negative, the contact may leave home quarantine after completing their 14 days.

Vaccinated people who live in the same household as the contact, need to quarantine for 7 days and get a COVID-19 PCR test on day 1 and day 5, unless they can be separated from the contact.

If the close contact is 12 years old or under, vaccinated people who live in the same household as the contact do not need to quarantine; but are required to get a COVID-19 PCR test on day 1 and day 5.

Unvaccinated people who live in the same household as the contact must follow the same quarantine and testing requirements as the contact unless they can be separated from the contact.

Changes in full

Procedures for businesses

Risk assessment

Business owners can use the following procedures to conduct an initial risk assessment and take some initial actions as soon as they become aware of a COVID-19 positive case and while waiting a formal assessment by Queensland Health. These initial steps include:

  • Step 1: Determine if your staff had contact with the COVID-19 positive person within their infectious period
  • Step 2: Determine the duration of contact
  • Step 3: Determine the proximity of contact
  • Step 4: Participate in Queensland Health formal risk assessment

Queensland Health’s Public Health Units are responsible for a formal risk assessment and determining if a contact is low risk, casual or close.

The Public Health Unit will make contact with the business as soon as possible to undertake this assessment.

In the interim, while awaiting further advice from the Public Health Unit, businesses can use the above procedures to help take some initial actions. These actions will assist them to determine which staff are most likely to be impacted, and notifying those staff to arrange to get a COVID-19 test and quarantine at home.

The Queensland Government’s Managing the risk for COVID-19 exposures in businesses and venues Plan is a useful resource in this process.

Download the Plan

Cleaning

If a COVID-19 positive person attends a business or venue, it should be temporarily closed to perform cleaning.

Most businesses will only need to close for a short time to perform a routine clean.

Routine cleaning with standard household cleaning products is acceptable. A deep clean is not necessary.

More information

Contact our expert advisory teams who are on hand to assist with more information, advice or support for your business.

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