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Dansk

Only close contacts exposed to infection at home should self-isolate

The guidelines for managing and tracing close contacts have been revised due to the flare-up of the epidemic and the highly contagious Omicron variant. From now on, close contacts are defined as those people who have been exposed to infection at home, and they must self-isolate and get tested. Those exposed to infection outside their home should also get tested, but they do not have to self-isolate.

20 DEC 2021

On 29 November, the Danish Health Authority issued guidance for close contacts of those infected with the Omicron variant. All close contacts of confirmed Omicron COVID-19 cases – whether vaccinated or previously infected – were asked to self-isolate and get a PCR test on days 1, 4 and 6 after the last contact.

As we feared, the number of infected with the Omicron variant continues to climb, and the Omicron has now spread across the entire country.  There is also a steep incline in the total number of COVID-19 cases, and on 17 December, Denmark registered a record number of 11,100 new confirmed cases. We must therefore take immediate and decisive action to minimise the spread of the virus where the risk of infection is the greatest. 

"You are most likely to get infected in your own home. In the current situation, we are recommending self-isolation as well as PCR tests on days 4 and 6 after contact to limit the spread of infection as much as possible. Evidence suggests that you are better protected from infection if you have been given the 3rd booster vaccine dose, which is why you do not have to self-isolate if you have been revaccinated,” says Deputy Director General Helene Probst.

"Secondary contacts do not have to self-isolate but must get tested. We are constantly striving to maintain a balance between preventing the spread of infection while avoiding too many people in self-isolation so our society can still function," says Helene Probst.

Danish and international studies show that the vast majority of those who are infected have been infected at home and within the first 4 days after they were first exposed to infection. In the future, we define close contacts as only those who were exposed to infection at home. They must self-isolate and get tested on days 4 and 6 – regardless of which COVID-19 variant they have. They can stop self-isolating if they get a negative test on day 4. We recommend taking a PCR test on day 4, but due to the current high demand for PCR tests, you only have to take a rapid antigen test on day 6.

Those who have become infected must contact others who have been close to them and tell them to take a test immediately and a follow-up test on day 4.

The guidelines for contact tracing of COVID-19 cases have been adjusted in light of the current situation and our knowledge of Omicron. Further adjustments may become necessary when and as we learn more about this new variant.  

The Danish Health Authority's publications on close contacts will be updated as soon as possible. 

 

What to do if you are a close contact of someone infected with COVID-19

What to do if someone you live with is infected (or someone you have been close to, e.g., your girlfriend/boyfriend or overnight guests):

  • You should self-isolate immediately and get tested on days 4 and 6 after your last contact with the infected person. On day 4, you must take a PCR test, but you can, currently, take a rapid antigen test on day 6.
  • You can stop self-isolating if your PCR test on day 4 came back negative.
  • If you have received the 3rd booster vaccine dose, you do not have to self-isolate, but please take a rapid test as soon as possible, a PCR test on day 4, and another rapid test on day 6.
  • If you have had COVID-19 within the last 12 weeks (from the date you tested positive), you do not have to self-isolate or get tested unless you experience symptoms.

What to do if you have been close to someone who is infected (e.g., a friend, colleague, fellow student or classmate):

  •  We recommend that you take a rapid test or a self-test immediately and again on day 4 after your last contact with the infected person. Do not self-isolate.
  • If you have had COVID-19 within the last 12 weeks (from the date you tested positive), you do not have to take a test unless you experience symptoms.

The guidance mentioned above presupposes that you were in close contact with the infected person within 48 hours before the person experienced symptoms (or if this person did not experience any symptoms, then 48 hours before the person got a positive test result).