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Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person

Public Health Guidance
16 March 2021

This guidance is correct at the time of publishing. However as it is subject to changes, please ensure that the information at time of issue is accurate and correct.

If you live in the same household as a person who has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or who has received a positive test result, follow the Stay at Home: guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

If you have been identified as a high risk contact of, but do not live with, a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, follow the guidance below.

Contents

Who this guidance is for

This guidance is for people who have been notified by the COVID-19 Response Team (contact tracing) that they are a contact of a person who has had a positive test result for COVID-19 and who is not from that person’s household.

High risk contacts of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 need to self-isolate at home because they are at risk of developing COVID-19 themselves in the next 14 days. They could spread the virus to others, even before any symptoms begin.

What is meant by a high risk contact

A high risk contact is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. You can be a high risk contact anytime from 2 days before the person who tested positive developed their symptoms, and up to 14 days after, as this is when they can pass the infection on to others. A risk assessment may be undertaken to determine this, but a high risk contact can be:

  • anyone who lives in the same household as another person who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • anyone who has had any of the following types of contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19:
    • face-to-face contact including being coughed on or having a face-to-face conversation within one metre
    • been within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
    • been within 2 metres of someone for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over one day)
    • travelled in the same vehicle or a plane

An interaction through a Perspex (or equivalent) screen with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is not usually considered to be a contact, as long as there has been no other contact such as those in the list above.

If you are a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 you will be notified by contact tracing via phone and should follow this guidance closely.

Main messages

If you have been informed by contact tracing that you are a high risk contact of a person who has had a positive test result for COVID-19, you must stay at home and complete your period of isolation. If there is anyone else living in your household, they must isolate for the same period of time.  A Direction Notice will be emailed to you and you and anyone else living in your household must follow this. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis.

If you develop any of the following symptoms: a new continuous cough; a high temperature; a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia); or a new shortness of breath, you should take a self-assessment and if advised, contact 111.

You should stay away from other household members as far as is practicable to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

How you will be told if you are a high risk contact

The Contact Tracing team will get in touch with anyone who is a high risk contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 by phone.

What to do if you are a high risk contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

If you have been informed by contact tracing that you are a high risk contact of a person who has had a positive test result for COVID-19, you must stay at home and complete your period of isolation. If there is anyone else living in your household, they must isolate for the same period of time.

The isolation period for you and any household member/s includes the date of your last contact with the person who has tested positive for COVID-19, and the next 21 days, leaving isolation at 12noon on day 21. This means that if, for example, your last contact with them was at any time on the 5th of the month, your isolation period ends at 12noon on the 26th. A Direction Notice will be emailed to you and you and anyone else living in your household must follow this.

There is an option for high risk contacts to have COVID-19 tests and if negative they can leave isolation earlier on day 14 at 12noon. This option will be explained to the high risk contact by contact tracing and is usually a test on (or as close to) day one of isolation; day 6/or7 of isolation; and then on day 13 of isolation. This testing regime only applies to the high risk contact and not to other members living in the household.

Self-isolation means you must stay at home and not leave the house. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis.

Do not go outside even to buy food or other essentials, except in certain specific circumstances. Any exercise must be taken within your home, garden or private outdoor space.

Ask friends or relatives to help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, or walking a dog. You can also order your shopping online and medication by phone or online. Delivery drivers should not come into your home, so make sure you ask them to leave items outside for collection. Further guidance on accessing food and essential supplies is available. If you do not have anyone who can support, call the community and information line on 686262.

If you live with anyone else, please stay away from them as far as is practicable to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

 Everyone in the household should take extra care to follow the guidance on social distancing, handwashing and respiratory hygiene.

It is very important that you follow this advice even if you feel well, as symptoms can take up to 14 days to appear from your last contact with the person who has tested positive for COVID-19. Self-isolation will help protect your family, friends and the most vulnerable in society by reducing the chance of spread of COVID-19 in the wider community.

If you are living with children, keep following this guidance to the best of your ability, however, we are aware that not all these measures will be possible. Please note, if children are co-habiting between parents, they cannot move between houses and must remain in self-isolation with the high risk contact or if not with the self-isolating parent, then they may NOT return to this household until the period of self-isolation has ended.

Not all these measures will be possible if you, or those you are living with, have conditions such as learning disabilities, autism or serious mental illness. Please keep following this guidance to the best of your ability, while keeping yourself and those close to you safe and well, ideally in line with any existing care plans.

Staying at home for a prolonged period can be difficult, frustrating and lonely for some, but you can do things to help make it easier or access the Are you ok? website.

Failure to adhere to the conditions of your self-isolation is an offence under the Public Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020. You could be fined or have up to 3 months in custody if you do not stay at home once instructed to self-isolate by contact tracing as per your Direction Notice.

I think I have had contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, but I have not been notified and advised to self-isolate. What should I do?

High risk contacts who need to self-isolate will usually be notified and advised to do so by the Contact Tracing team. If you believe that you are a high risk contact of someone with COVID-19 but have not yet been notified by contact tracing, you should carefully follow the guidance on social distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene.

If you are concerned that you may have symptoms of coronavirus, or you live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, follow the Stay at Home: guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

What to do if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 during your period of self-isolation

If you develop symptoms, stay at home and contact 111.

As soon as your symptoms start, you and anyone in your household should follow the Stay at Home: Guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. If your test result is positive, continue to follow the Stay at Home guidance and if you live with anyone else they will become high risk contacts themselves and have their isolation period reset and extended as shown in the Stay at Home guidance.

If your test result is negative, then you must still complete the full period of self-isolation as per your Direction Notice, as you could still develop COVID-19. Continue to follow this guidance.

Do the people I live with also need to self-isolate at home with me?

If you are a high risk contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, everyone in your household must self-isolate for the same isolation period.

What to do if you live with someone who develops COVID-19 symptoms

If someone you live with develops symptoms, they should stay at home and contact 111.

 All household members should follow the Stay at Home: guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19. Please note, the Direction Notice will still apply. If the member of your household tests positive for COVID-19 then all other members of the household will become high risk contacts and be issued with a Direction Notice.

I think I have been in close contact with someone who is being tested for COVID-19, but they do not yet have a test result. What should I do?

If you believe that you are a high risk contact of someone with COVID-19 who has not received their test result yet, you should carefully follow the guidance on social distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene. At this stage, you do not need to self-isolate.

High risk contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 infection who need to self-isolate will usually be notified accordingly by contact tracing.

What to do if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 after your period of self-isolation at home

If after your period of self-isolation you develop symptoms of COVID-19, stay at home and contact 111. Follow Stay at Home: Guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

If your result is positive, you must self-isolate for 21 days after the day your symptoms started or reduce isolation by having a second negative test on day 13 after which you can leave isolation on day 14 at 12noon.

Will I need to self-isolate if I previously tested positive for COVID-19 but have now been notified that I am a high risk contact of a person who has had a positive test result for COVID-19?

If you have previously tested positive for COVID-19, you will probably have developed some short-term immunity to the disease. However, it is not certain that will happen for everyone who has had COVID-19, nor do we know how long any immunity to the disease might last.

If you are notified that you are a high risk contact of someone who has had a positive test result for COVID-19, you must immediately self-isolate and follow this guidance.

Practise good hand and respiratory hygiene and keep your home well ventilated

Everyone should practise good hand and respiratory hygiene and let fresh air in to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

Financial or other practical support

Self-isolation is one of the most important things we can do to help stop the spread of the virus and protect our friends and family, our community and our frontline workers. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, have received a positive test result, or have been told you are a high risk contact with someone who has, self-isolation is the only way to guarantee you won’t pass COVID-19 to others. If you are told to isolate, you should do so straight away. 

Ask your employer, friends or relatives for help to access the things you will need while staying at home. You can also order your shopping online and medication by phone or online. Delivery drivers should not come into your home, so make sure you ask them to leave items outside for collection. Further guidance on accessing food and essential supplies is available. If you do not have anyone who can support, or you have any non-medical queries you can contact the community and information line on 686262.

If you are unable to work due to COVID-19, see funding and support for employers, employees and self-employed.

Failure to adhere to the conditions of your self-isolation is an offence under the Public Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020. You could be fined up to £10,000 or have up to 3 months in custody if you do not stay at home once instructed to self-isolate by contact tracing as per your Direction Notice. It is also an offence to knowingly provide false information about your close contacts to the Contact Tracing team. These regulations apply in the Isle of Man.

The information in this guidance document has been adapted with kind permission from Public Health England.

The content has been taken from Public Health England: Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person [12 February 2021]

Issued by: Isle of Man Government Cabinet Office, Public Health Directorate, Cronk Coar, Nobles Hospital, Strang, Douglas, Isle of Man IM4 4RJ