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Here's what to do if you're a close contact of someone who has Covid-19

The HSE has added more detail to its guidelines depending on a person’s vaccination status.

Close contacts have to do between three and five antigen tests, depending on their vaccination status.
Close contacts have to do between three and five antigen tests, depending on their vaccination status.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

WITH CHRISTMAS JUST days away people across the country are anxiously hoping to avoid bringing Covid-19 home to their families, here’s what to do if you are named as a close contact of someone who has tested positive. 

First things first, if you have any symptoms of Covid-19 – the most common symptoms are fever, dry cough and fatigue – you need to self-isolate and get a PCR test.

The HSE is instructing people to do this even if they are vaccinated or if they have recovered from the coronavirus disease.

Close contacts are broken up into two groups: Non-household close contacts and household close contacts.

You are a non-household close contact if you spent more than 15 minutes, over the course of a day, with someone who has tested positive for Covid.

When someone tests positive, their close contacts include people they were in close contact with in the 48-hour period before they developed symptoms or in the 24-hour period before their test, if they do not have symptoms.

You are a household close contact if you live in the same home as a person who has tested positive, use a kitchen or bathroom in shared accommodation with a person who has tested positive or if you are a sexual partner of someone who has tested positive.

The HSE has added more detail to its guidelines for close contacts depending on a person’s vaccination status.

People who have had their first round of vaccinations but have not received a booster and those who got their booster jab less than seven days before receiving a close contact text from the HSE are being instructed to do five antigen tests with 2 days between each test.

If any of the antigens are positive, or if the person starts to develop symptoms, they need to self-isolate (stay in their room) and get a PCR test.

The HSE is telling people in this group to restrict their movements (stay at home) for 10 days from when they get the close contact text message.

People who got their booster shot more than seven days before the close contact text need to do three antigen tests with two days between each test.

They need to restrict their movements for five days and if any of the antigens are positive, or if the person starts to develop symptoms, they need to self-isolate and get a PCR test.

People who got their first round of Covid jabs and tested positive on a PCR test in the past six months also need to follow these steps; three antigens with two days between tests, restrict movements for five days.

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Those who have not received their first round of vaccines (two doses of either Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca or one dose of the Janssen jab) have to do five antigen tests with two days between each test.

They also need to restrict their movements for 10 days from when they get the close contact text message.

People who live with someone who is restricting their movements do not need to restrict their movements as long as they do not have any symptoms.

If you live with someone who has tested positive you need to restrict your movements and book a PCR test, as outlined above.

Those that live with someone who is waiting for PCR results should restrict their movements if they are not vaccinated or if they have not recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months.

People who are vaccinated or recovered do not need to restrict their movements in this scenario.

People who live with someone who cannot self-isolate, such as a child, an older person or someone with a disability, are being advised to restrict their movements and take extra care to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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