NSW announces new Covid close contact rules for the second time in a WEEK  1

NSW announces new Covid close contact rules for the second time in a WEEK 

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NSW Health has announced major changes to contact tracing – putting the onus on Covid patients to tell people in their household they are close contacts.

The government says official contact tracing will not prioritise follow ups with people diagnosed with Covid, their households and ‘high risk’ locations. 

These include household contacts and places with people at high risk of severe disease such as in healthcare, aged care, disability care and correctional facilities.

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It comes just days after the health department changed the definition of close contacts.   

NSW Health currently defines a close contact as someone who has been at a venue where an infectious person has been, or is a household contact of a case.

The state recorded 2,213 new Covid-19 cases and one death on Friday, smashing the state record for the most daily cases reported throughout the pandemic.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (pictured) said close contacts would now be redefined as household contacts or those who have spent a significant time in the house

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (pictured) said close contacts would now be redefined as household contacts or those who have spent a significant time in the house

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NSW Health can also declare people exposed in specific other situations close contacts, such as where significant Covid transmission occurred (pictured, patrons at a Bondi cafe)

NSW Health can also declare people exposed in specific other situations close contacts, such as where significant Covid transmission occurred (pictured, patrons at a Bondi cafe)

Premier Dominic Perrottet on Wednesday said close contacts would be redefined as household contacts or those who have spent a significant time in the house.

These include ‘household-like’ contacts like boyfriends and girlfriends who stay overnight or spend a lot of time in their partner’s home.

NSW Health can also declare people exposed in specific other situations close contacts, such as where significant Covid transmission occurred.

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A close contact was defined as someone who had been at a venue where an infectious person had been, or a household contact of a case, according to by NSW Health.

But that has since changed to avoid thousands of people from spending Christmas in isolation.  

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant (pictured) said residents would have to reach 'a pretty high bar' to be defined as a close contact by NSW Health

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant (pictured) said residents would have to reach ‘a pretty high bar’ to be defined as a close contact by NSW Health

Super-spreader events like at The Argyle nightclub in Newcastle, where at least 150 caught the virus and all 780 who were there were declared close contacts, would be an example. 

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Those considered close contacts under the narrowed rules will have to isolate for seven days and have two Covid tests. 

But others who would in the past have to stay locked away will only have to provide one negative test result to be able to attend holiday festivities.

That includes friends and family you caught up with and patrons or customers seated nearby who later test positive to Covid.

NSW has lifted rules surrounding masks and QR check-in codes with face coverings only mandatory on public transport and in planes and airports (pictured, people at Sydney Airport)

NSW has lifted rules surrounding masks and QR check-in codes with face coverings only mandatory on public transport and in planes and airports (pictured, people at Sydney Airport)

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From Wednesday, those vaccinated close contacts will only have to isolate until they receive a negative PCR rest result. 

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said residents would have to reach ‘a pretty high bar’ to be considered a close contact. 

Dr Chant added NSW Health is ‘streamlining the procedures’ and urged residents to ‘limit their activities’ as Omicron threatens to wreak havoc in the community. 

On Wednesday NSW lifted rules surrounding masks and QR check-in codes with face coverings only mandatory on public transport and in planes and airports.

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NSW reported a record 2,213 new Covid-19 cases and one death while Victoria has recorded 1,510 infections and eight deaths a week before Christmas (pictured, a health worker in Sydney)

NSW reported a record 2,213 new Covid-19 cases and one death while Victoria has recorded 1,510 infections and eight deaths a week before Christmas (pictured, a health worker in Sydney)

When asked why the rules were lifted amid a spike in cases, Dr Chant said from a ‘public health position’, she strongly recommended people continue wearing masks.

‘My clear advice is that in indoor settings people should be wearing masks, I feel personally it does reduce the risk and gives a lot of people comfort as they move around,’ she said. 

NSW reported a record 2,213 new Covid-19 cases and one death while Victoria has recorded 1,510 infections and eight deaths a week before Christmas.

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The new cases announced in NSW on Friday smash the state record marking the highest daily tally since the pandemic began.

It beats the previous record of 1,742 new infections that were reported on Thursday.

The daily case numbers have skyrocketed this week, with 1,360 cases recorded on Wednesday, marking the first time in months the state has seen more than a thousand new infections in a single day. 

The last time NSW’s daily case numbers were this high was on September 11, when 1,599 new cases were detected.

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CHANGES TO CONTACT TRACING IN NSW: 

As COVID-19 cases increase across NSW, we are evolving contact tracing and will be prioritising case interviews and detailed follow up with people diagnosed with COVID-19, their households, and places where there are people at high risk of severe disease such as in healthcare, aged care, disability care and correctional facilities.

In line with this, we have updated the testing and isolation requirements for both confirmed cases of COVID-19 and their close contacts, which came into effect on Wednesday 15 December 2021.

If you are a confirmed case of COVID-19, you must self-isolate at home until cleared by a medical practitioner or registered nurse, regardless of vaccination status.

Immediately inform your household and others who they have been in the same home with for four hours or more, and your workplace or education facility that they are close contacts and must follow testing and self-isolation requirements. You must also advise friends and other people you have spent time with socially that they are casual contacts and must follow testing and self-isolation requirements.

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If you’re a close contact of a person with COVID-19, get tested immediately and self-isolate for 7 days. Get tested again on day 6 and you can stop self-isolating on day 7 if you’ve received a negative test result. For the next seven days do not enter a high risk setting and get tested again on day 12. This advice applies to close contacts regardless of vaccination status.

 Source: NSW Health

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