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Isolation and reporting rules for when a worker tests positive

If a worker tests positive for COVID-19, they will need to self-isolate immediately for 7 days from the day they were tested, and not leave home or let anyone come into their home unless they live there.

A negative PCR (nose and throat swab) or rapid antigen test is not needed to leave isolation and return to work.

If they have a sore throat, runny nose, cough or shortness of breath after 7 days, they must remain in isolation until 24 hours after their symptoms have resolved.

People should wear a mask when near or talking to others, and avoid visiting high risk settings (health care, aged care, disability care or correctional facilities) for a further 3 days. 

How a business will find out that a worker tests positive for COVID-19 

A business owner or employer might be notified that a worker who has attended the workplace has tested positive for COVID-19 by: 

  • the worker who has tested positive 
  • an employer of a worker who visits the workplace 
  • public health authorities.

If you run a business, you must notify SafeWork NSW if a worker has, or is likely to have, contracted COVID-19 at work and requires hospitalisation. 

Responsibility to inform workers about a positive COVID-19 case 

Employers should advise workers and contractors of the general situation, noting that the privacy and confidentiality of the person who tested positive for COVID-19 must always be maintained. Information provided should include: 

  • symptoms of COVID-19 that staff and contractors should monitor themselves for
  • where to seek advice and help 
  • reminders to staff, contractors, visitors and customers to not enter the premises if they are unwell
  • advice on physical distancing and personal hygiene measures 
  • what infection control measures the business operator has put in place, including cleaning
  • any other specific advice provided by NSW Health. 

Guidance is available for businesses with a worker who tests positive for COVID-19 on including a factsheet from NSW Health.

Related information:

Vaccination and the workplace