COVID-19 – Information for close contacts

COVID-19 – Information for close contacts

This information is relevant to those who have been identified as having had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

There is a possibility that the illness could have been passed on to you. Although it is important to note that most people who have had close contact with someone confirmed as having COVID-19 have not been infected or become ill.

This page explains what you can expect from the GHA contact tracing team and highlights precautionary measures you should take to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

What is a close contact?

A ‘close contact’ is defined as any person with the following exposure to someone with COVID-19 during the time that they are infectious:

  • 15 minutes or more of face-to-face contact within 2 meters; or
  • Having had physical contact or direct contact with infectious secretions (e.g. being coughed on); or
  • In a shared enclosed space (such as a household or classroom) for 15 minutes or more; or
  • In an aircraft, sitting within two seats (in any direction); or
  • A healthcare worker or other person providing care to a case, or laboratory workers handling specimens from a case, without the recommended PPE.

For more information about COVID-19 click here.

What you need to do

If you are identified as a close contact you must self-isolate for 10 days, unless advised of an alternative arrangement by the contact tracing bureau. For example, you may perform an essential job role where your absence from work would mean that the provision of public services would be compromised. These arrangements will be discussed with you by the CTB advisor as well as your line manager.

By self-isolating, you are helping to protect your friends and family, and other people in your community, as well as making sure the GHA does not get overwhelmed.

An advisor will contact you daily to monitor your progress.

If you develop symptoms of Covid-19 during your isolation period:

  • Call 111 immediately and inform your advisor when they call you.
  • For medical emergencies call 190 as you normally would (inform the call handler of your symptoms).
  • If you are resident in Spain you should call 900400061 if you have symptoms of Covid-19 or 955545060 for other coronavirus related information.

Self-isolation

You must do the following:

  • Stay at home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis. Nobody should go out even to buy food or other essentials, and any exercise must be taken within your home.
  • Avoid contact with other household members as much as possible.
  • Keep communal areas well ventilated, use a separate bathroom where possible. Avoid using shared facilities while others are present, disinfect touched surfaces and objects such as door knobs after use. Do not share utensils, cups and towels, including hand towels and tea towels.
  • Wash your hands often: Use soap and water for 20 seconds or hand sanitiser.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes: Use a disposable tissue or sneeze into the crook of your elbow.
  • Consider using a face covering in shared parts of your home.
  • Do not have social visitors such as family and friends come to your home.

Essential supplies

If you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, or walking a dog, you should ask friends or family. Alternatively, you can 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.

For non-medical Covid-19 related advice contact 20041818 (usual government office hours Monday-Friday).

Carers

If you or a family member receive essential care in your home, then carers should continue to visit. Carers should follow the relevant guidance to reduce the risk of you passing on the infection.

Routine medical care

All routine medical and dental appointments should usually be cancelled while you and the family are staying at home. If you are concerned or have been asked to attend in person within the period you are home isolating, discuss this with your medical contact first (for example, your GP or dentist, local hospital or outpatient service).

To speak to GP services, call 20052441.

Work

Any sick leave due to COVID-19, or leave covering self-isolation, will come out of an employee’s statutory sick pay; any additional contracted sick leave or unpaid sick leave that may be contracted must be mutually agreed between employer and employee.

Please email covidsicknote@gha.gi with your name, Date of Birth, statement explaining that you have been told to isolate and your employers email address. The sick note will be sent to your employer.

Mental health

  • We know that staying at home for a prolonged period can be difficult, frustrating and lonely for some people and that you or other household members may feel low. It can be particularly challenging if you don’t have much space or access to a garden.
  • It’s important to remember to take care of your mind as well as your body and to get support if you need it. Stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media. There are also sources of support and information that can help, such as the Every Mind Matters website.
  • Plan ahead and think about what you will need in order to stay at home for the full duration of isolation.
  • Think about things you can do during your time at home. People who have stayed at home for a week or more have kept themselves busy with activities such as cooking, reading, online learning and watching films. If you feel well enough you can take part in light exercise within your home.

Read more on managing Home Isolation here.