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Remember lessons learned as COVID-19 isolation ends

12 October 2022

NSW Health is urging the community to continue to look out for one another after mandatory isolation ends this Friday, 14 October by remembering lessons learned.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said at the top of the list is staying home if you have cold or flu-like symptoms, get tested and if you must head out, wear a mask.

“We all know from experience what works best to protect one another from COVID-19 so please, continue to take those simple but important steps,” Dr Chant said.

“In particular, we urge people to please stay at home if they have cold or flu-like symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, cough or fever and go and get tested.

“If you have COVID-19 you may be infectious for up to 10 days but you are most infectious in the two days before your symptoms start and while you have symptoms.

“If you have to leave the house while unwell, wear a mask when indoors and on public transport, avoid large gatherings and indoor crowded places, and don’t visit high risk settings, such as hospitals, aged or disability care facilities for at least seven days.”

Dr Chant said people should talk to their employer about when they can safely return to the workplace, with the risk to be managed under occupational health and safety frameworks.

High-risk settings such as hospitals, disability and aged care facilities have been advised by Dr Chant that staff should only return to these settings after seven days, subject to their own work, health, and safety assessment, and if symptom-free.

“It is important we continue to think of others, especially those most vulnerable and the best thing people of all ages can do to protect themselves remains to make sure they are up to date with their COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations,” Dr Chant said.

While registration of a positive rapid antigen test (RAT) will also no longer be mandatory from Friday, NSW Health asks people to continue the practice voluntarily.

“Registering a positive RAT through Service NSW allows us to connect people to medical care, particularly older people and the immunocompromised, and it also helps inform our ongoing public health response,” Dr Chant said.

Close contacts of positive cases are most at risk of catching the virus so if you are a close contact, remember:

• Monitor for symptoms. If you get sick, get tested and stay home.
• Avoid visiting high-risk settings such as a hospital, aged or disability care facilities, or visiting anyone at high risk of severe illness for at least seven days, and then ensure you have a negative RAT before visiting.
• Wear a mask when indoors and on public transport.
• Frequent RATs may help identify infection early – this is particularly important if you are in contact with people at high risk of severe illness.

For more advice on how to stay safe and prevent the spread of respiratory viruses including COVID-19, visit nsw.gov.au