Close Contact / Suspected COVID Procedures 

If you come into contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus), you may be a close contact.

Close contact

Close contact can mean:

  • spending more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact within 2 metres of someone who has COVID-19, indoors or outdoors
  • living in the same house or shared accommodation as someone who has COVID-19
  • sitting within 2 seats of someone who has COVID-19 on public transport or an airplane

Spending more than 2 hours in an indoor space with someone who has COVID-19 will sometimes count as close or casual contact. This could be an office or a classroom. But it will depend on the size of the room and other factors. Public health doctors or contact tracers will let you know if you are at risk during contact tracing and public health risk assessments.

How you'll know if you are a close contact

You'll usually find out if you are a close contact from:

  • a text message from the  contact tracing team
  • the COVID Tracker app  
  • the public health team investigating confirmed cases within a specific setting. For example, a nursing home, workplace or school

When you are a close contact

You will be a close contact if the person you were in contact with:

  • had symptoms of COVID-19 and you were in contact with them up to 48 hours before they developed symptoms and started self-isolating
  • did not have symptoms and you were in contact with them up to 24 hours before they tested positive

If you are a close contact but have not been contacted

If you believe you are a close contact but have not been contacted by contact tracing:

What to do if you are a close contact

If you are a close contact you need to:

Living with someone who is a close contact

You do not need to restrict your movements if you have been in contact with someone who is a close contact and has no symptoms. You can continue to go to work, school, preschool or childcare as long as you also have no symptoms.

If the close contact develops symptoms, they will need to self-isolate and phone a GP. You will become a close contact if they test positive for COVID-19. You will need to restrict your movements.

Casual contact

You may have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, but you do not meet the definition to be a close contact. This is a casual contact.

If you are a casual contact, you do not need to restrict your movements. Continue to follow the advice on how to protect yourself and others. If you are a casual contact, you do not need to be tested.


Self isolating HSE video