Isolation lengthened for Covid-19 cases and close contacts

Source: 1News

The isolation requirements for Covid-19 cases and their close contacts are being extended due to Omicron's infectiousness.

It means cases now must isolate for two weeks, instead of 10 days. Close contacts now must isolate for 10 days, rather than seven.

The changes come in from Friday.

The Ministry of Health said in a statement the changes were an interim measure.

"Isolation periods for cases and close contacts remain under review and are planned to change as part of the response to an Omicron community outbreak."

The isolation period for people with Covid-19, whether at home or in MIQ has been changed to at least 14 days, which includes 72 hours of having no symptoms. They could leave isolation after being told by a public health official.

The ministry said household members needed to isolate for at least 10 days after the case they live with "has been released as a case" - meaning they needed to be in isolation longer than the person with Covid-19 they live with.

Close contacts needed to isolate 10 days from their last exposure, and be tested immediately and on days five and eight.

"If you are a close contact and have, or later develop, any Covid-19 symptoms the people in your immediate household should stay at home until you receive a negative test result," the Ministry of Health website states.

In a statement, health officials say they currently determine whether people are casual or close contacts through six factors.

These include how close a person was to an infected person, duration of contact with a case, size of room where an exposure happens and whether a case was wearing a mask.

People are more likely to be classified as a casual contact if exposure to a case happened outdoors or otherwise in a well-ventilated room.

The change to isolation requirements came after a case of Covid-19 in Palmerston North was confirmed as the Omicron variant.