If you have COVID-19, the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) does source and contact tracing to identify your contacts during the infectious period.
Types of contacts
If you have contact with someone for an extended period of time, or have been in very close proximity to someone, you are more likely to become infected. During source and contact tracing, the GGD reviews what types of contact you had and what you should do in each case. People who have had contact with others are classified into 3 groups:
- Household members: The people who live in the same household as you, who you often spend time with for more than 15 minutes at a distance of less than 1.5 meters.
- Close contacts:
- Someone, other than your household members, who you spent time with for more than 15 minutes at a distance of less than 1.5 meters. Or someone who you spent time with for more than 15 minutes at a distance of less than 1.5 meters, cumulatively within a 24-hour period.
- Someone who you spent time with for less than 15 minutes at a distance of less than 1.5 meters, with a major risk of infection. For example, if someone coughed in your face, or if you had physical contact such as hugging or kissing.
- Other contacts:
- Someone who you spent time with for more than 15 minutes, while staying more than 1.5 meters apart in an indoor space. For example, in a room at the office, in a classroom or during a meeting.
- Someone who you spent time with for less than 15 minutes at a distance of less than 1.5 meters, with a minor risk of infection. For example, a brief encounter at a distance of less than 1.5 meters.
When should you go into quarantine?
- If someone in your household tests positive for COVID-19.
- If you are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19.
- If you have received a notification via the CoronaMelder app.
- If you are returning from abroad (from a COVID-19 high-risk country).
Other contacts do not need to be quarantined.
Quarantine and testing
If you go into quarantine, that means you stay home. In that case, get tested immediately. By testing people immediately, we can detect new infections earlier. Even if you do not have any symptoms (yet), you should still get tested. You may only go outside for the test. If the test result is positive, then you have COVID-19. In that case, go into isolation.
Have you been tested within five days of your last contact with someone with COVID-19, and was the test result negative? Then stay in quarantine. Get tested again on day five. This is important, because the previous test may have been too early, before the virus could be detected. In any case, the test on day five is reliable. This is because most people who become ill develop symptoms within seven days. The test can detect the virus as early as two days before that. If the test result from the test on day five is negative for COVID-19, you may be released from quarantine. If the result is positive, then you have COVID-19 and must go into isolation.
Why test people during quarantine?
Testing people during their quarantine period makes it possible to detect coronavirus infections earlier. That means that you will know sooner if you have the virus, and can also notify people that you had contact with more quickly. In addition, you will go into isolation earlier, preventing you from infecting more people. The Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) can start source and contact tracing more quickly. In addition, people can be released from quarantine earlier. This applies if the test was taken five or more days after the last contact with the contagious person and the result is negative.
Quarantine and rules
While in quarantine, the following rules apply:
- Stay home and do not receive any visitors.
- Stay 1.5 metres from other household members.
- Wash your hands and sneeze and cough into your elbow.
- Does a household member have COVID-19? Then avoid contact with the household member who is infected and keep cleaning your belongings and your house.
- Do you have COVID-19 yourself? In that case, go into isolation. Stay alone in a room of your own as much as possible. This is how to ensure that your household members can avoid having any contact with you.
What is isolation?
If your test result is positive, then you have COVID-19. In that case, go into isolation. Isolation is similar to quarantine but different in two ways:
- When you are in quarantine, you may still have contact with household members who are not infected – but 1.5 metres apart. When you are in isolation, you must avoid any contact as much as possible. This means you must stay home, and preferably stay also in your own room. You should leave this room as little as possible, and other household members should come into this room as little as possible. You must use separate dishes, cutlery, toothbrush and towels. If possible, use a separate toilet and shower.
- Isolation lasts until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, but takes a minimum of 7 days. After that, you may end your isolation and go outside again.
Isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 without symptoms
If you test positive for COVID-19 but do not have any symptoms, it is important to follow these rules:
- Monitor your health closely. You could still develop symptoms. Most people who become ill develop symptoms within 5 days after the positive test. For that reason, stay home and in isolation for 5 days after getting tested. You may already be contagious (able to infect others) before you start showing symptoms. Your household members must also stay home, because they may have caught the virus from you. This prevents them from infecting others.
- You may leave isolation immediately if you have not developed any symptoms that could indicate COVID-19 within 5 days after getting tested. The Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) will discuss with you when this is.
- If you do develop symptoms within those 5 days after taking the test, you must stay in isolation for longer. Your household members must also remain in quarantine until 10 days after their last contact with you that involved a risk of infection. The GGD will tell you more about this.
Are you seriously ill and in need of medical assistance? Do not go to your GP or visit the hospital; instead, call your GP immediately.
Leaving quarantine early after testing negative: no contact with vulnerable people
As a precaution, avoid contact with vulnerable people until the 10th day after your last contact with someone who has COVID-19 – even if you tested negative for COVID-19. Vulnerable people have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill or dying if they are infected with the virus. Do you work in healthcare or in contact with vulnerable people? Consult your employer to discuss your options.
Quarantine when arriving from abroad
If you are arriving from abroad, travelling from a country with a high risk of COVID-19, you must go into quarantine for 10 days. You will also be required to show negative test results for COVID-19. Travellers can also get tested through the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) on day five, after returning from abroad.
Even after quarantine, the following rules apply: stay 1.5 meters from others, wash your hands regularly with soap and water, cough and sneeze into your elbow, and get tested if you have symptoms that could indicate COVID-19.
Advice to stay home if you have symptoms but have not been tested
If you develop symptoms that could indicate COVID-19, then stay home and get tested. If you have mild symptoms that could indicate COVID-19, accompanied by fever and/or shortness of breath, then your other household members must also stay home.
Frequently asked questions about quarantine and COVID-19
Is there any use in testing people at the beginning of their quarantine?
The earlier we detect infections with the virus, the better. Therefore, people can get tested immediately when they enter quarantine. The virus can already be detected in some people at that point. This will enable them to go into isolation sooner, so they can avoid infecting others. If the test result is negative, however, it is important to get tested again on day five. This is because the previous test may have been too early for the test to detect the virus. In any case, the test on day five is reliable. This is because most people who become ill develop symptoms within seven days. If the test result from the test on day five is negative for COVID-19, you may be released from quarantine. If the result is positive, then you have COVID-19 and must go into isolation.
Is it possible for people to develop symptoms even after testing negative for COVID-19 on day 5?
A few of the close contacts identified from source and contact tracing only develop symptoms 7 days after their last contact with a COVID-19 patient. Quarantine is therefore not necessary if you test negative for COVID-19. However, it is still important to keep track of whether you develop symptoms.