Some fully vaccinated adults will now be able to isolate for a week instead of a fortnight under new NSW Health guidelines.

The definition of a COVID-19 close contact has changed slightly in NSW as the majority of the population is now vaccinated.

Previously anyone who came into contact with someone with the virus had to self-isolate for 14 days from exposure.

However, some fully vaccinated adults will now only need to quarantine for one week.

Going forward, the main definition of a close contact is if someone in your house has the virus.

Below we break down the new guidelines, but NSW Health has warned: “Self-isolation periods and testing requirements differ for close contacts based on their exposure and vaccination status.”

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What if I am exposed and fully vaccinated?

If you’ve had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before you last had contact with a COVID-19 case, your isolation period will be seven days from exposure.

This only applies if everyone in your household is also fully vaccinated.

If someone in your house has the virus, you need to quarantine for a week from the date the last COVID-19 positive person in your household received a positive result.

This means you can’t leave the house for any reason, unless it is a medical emergency.

You need to get tested immediately after exposure, on day six, and 12 days after you were exposed.

If you return a negative test on day six, and you have no symptoms, you are free on day seven – sort of.

For the next week you need to work from home, and avoid going to bars, restaurants and cafes.

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You’re also banned from what NSW Health deems “high-risk settings”. These are: healthcare, aged care, disability care, early childhood centres, primary school and correctional facilities.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the main reason someone would be deemed a close contact now is if someone in your house gets the virus.

But she did not rule out workplaces being a close contact exposure site.

Dr Chant said contact tracers would assess a case’s social circle, then look at their workplace.

“If everybody is practising COVID-safe behaviour in the office, then you’re unlikely to be a close contact,” she said.

But she acknowledged workmates might let down their guard, or socialise outside of work.

“It’s not to say that none of your workplace colleagues will ever be close contacts,” she said.

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What if I have had one dose of a vaccine?

If you’ve had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and you’re exposed to the virus, you still need to isolate for two weeks.

This 14-day period applies from the date you had contact with the COVID-positive person.

You have to get tested immediately, and again on day 12.

You can only leave self-isolation after 14 days if you receive a negative result from the test on day 12 and have no COVID-19 symptoms.

This applies if someone in your household has COVID-19, or if you are exposed in another setting.

What if I am unvaccinated?

The same rules apply as if you’ve had one dose – 14 days of isolation from exposure.

What if I only just had my second dose?

If you had your second dose of a vaccine less than two weeks before being exposed to COVID-19, unfortunately you still need to isolate for 14 days.

NOTE: NSW Health said some cases will be assessed individually, and these restrictions may differ. A full breakdown is available on its website.

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