I am a Close Contact. What should I do?

I am a Close Contact. What should I do?

Updated on 8 February 2022

Effective January 2022, the Health Ministry has revised the isolation protocol for close contact. Five days isolation for those close contact who have received a booster jab, seven days for those who have not. If symptomatic, take the rtk-Ag test and submit result through MySejahtera. If result is positive, one becomes a positive case and follows the appropriate protocol for positive cases.

The first thing to know is that the term “close contact” is very specific. If you happened to walk pass a person who was later tested positive for Covid-19 infection, this does not make you a close contact. In this case, you are considered a casual contact. A close contact is a person who was in close contact with another person who was later tested positive for Covid-19 under these conditions:

  1. He or she was with the Covid person for 15 minutes or longer
  2. He or she was with the Covid person at a distance of less than 2 meters

In addition, if either one of you were not wearing a mask, that makes you a high-risk close contact. If both were wearing masks, the risk is considerably lower.

If you are a close contact, these are the things you should do:

  1. Do a rt-PCR swab test. All close contacts MUST do this test.
  2. Quarantine yourself at home for at least 10 days, and contact your nearest CAC (Covid-19 Assessment Centre)
  3. Monitor yourself for symptoms

Your rt-PCR test results

If your rt-PCR test came back positive, you are no longer a close contact. Instead, you are now a Covid-19 infected person, and anyone else who were in close contact with you immediately become your close contacts. Inform them and ask them to be tested.

However, if your rt-PCR test came back negative, you are still not out of the wood yet. This is because the rt-PCR test is not 100% accurate. The pick up rate is less when you are tested too early. You may still be infected with the Covid-19 virus but the test was not able to pick it up yet. In addition, even the best test is not 100% accurate and may still miss some positive cases.

Therefore, you must still continue with your home quarantine and fulfill the 10 days minimum quarantine. You are not allowed to go back to work or go out in public places. You should not even be mingling with your family members too much at home. Continue to observe all precautions to avoid potentially spreading the virus to your loved ones.

Self Quarantine, even when your initial rt-PCR is negative

You are asked to quarantine yourself at home if you are a close contact, even when your initial rt-PCR test is negative.

Below are some possible outcomes during your self quarantine:

  1. You are asymptomatic throughout the 10 days, in which case, you are now free to end your self quarantine. There is no need to do a second rt-PCR test.
  2. You are initially asymptomatic and later develop some mild flu-like symptoms. In this case, you will have to extend your quarantine, counting your first day from the first day of your symptoms. For example, if you were asymptomatic for 3 days, and then developed symptoms on day 4, then Day 4 becomes your first day of quarantine. Thus, your total days of quarantine is now 13 days, instead of the earlier 10 days. In addition, you will need to repeat your rt-PCR test.
  3. You are symptomatic from the first day of your quarantine, but your symptoms gradually subsided and you no longer have symptoms. In this case, you can end your quarantine after the 10 days.

Monitoring your symptoms

In monitoring your symptoms, look out for symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, bodyache, headache. Note the first day any of these symptoms arisen. If you were initially asymptomatic and then became symptomatic, your quarantine will need to be extended as we have mentioned above. You will also need to do a second rt-PCR test.

Be wary if you develop symptoms like difficulty in breathing, severe tiredness and bodyache. They may indicate a severe infection. Whenever you are in doubt, consult a doctor.

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