EXPLAINED: What to do if you are a Covid ‘contact case’ in France

If you have come into contact with someone who is infected with Covid in France, you may need to stay at home.
If you have come into contact with someone who is infected with Covid in France, you may need to stay at home. Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
Covid case numbers are continuing to rise in France, meaning that more of us are likely to come into contact with people who later test positive. So what do you need to do if you are alerted as a contact case?

There are a number of ways to find out that you are a cas contact (contact case) of someone who has tested positive for Covid.

You may have received an alert on the TousAntiCovid app warning of an “Exposition à risque”; a message from Ameli, the state health provider; or the infected person may have contacted you directly. 

In any case, what you should do next depends on your situation. 

You have had Covid in the last two months 

If you have had Covid in the last two months, you are not considered a cas contact, even if you have come into contact an infected person, as you will have antibodies. 

This means you can go on living your best life. Enjoy.

You are fully vaccinated

If you are fully vaccinated (pre-booster), you received your last dose more than 7 days ago (or 28 days ago for the Janssen vaccine), are not immunodeficient and have not been in touch with someone infected with the Omicron variant, you should take an antigen test at your local pharmacy as soon as possible. A list of testing sites can be found here

  • If the test is negative

You are only at slight risk and do not need to isolate. You should however try to limit social interactions, wear masks both inside and outside even when not required to do so by law and avoid meeting vulnerable groups such as the elderly. 

You must get a second test seven days after your contact with the Covid-infected person. If you have fever or other Covid symptoms before seven days, get tested as soon as possible and remain isolated until you get the result. 

  • If the test is positive 

You have been infected and are contagious. Remain in isolation for 10 days after receiving your test result. If you have breathing difficulties, contact a doctor or dial 15 for an ambulance. If you live with other people, they will be considered as cas contact and must immediately self-isolate if they are not vaccinated. After 10 days, if you have had no fever or breathing difficulties for 48 hours, you can end your self isolation and do not need to do another test. 

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You have been in contact with someone infected by the Omicron variant

If you received a warning via the TousAntiCovid app or from Ameli that you are cas contact, you may be informed that the potentially contagious person you were in contact with was infected with the Omicron variant. If this is the case, you should follow the procedure for unvaccinated people (see below). 

You are not fully vaccinated 

If you have not already received two vaccine doses (of Pfizer, Moderna, Astrazeneca) or one dose of Janssen;  if you only received these doses less than seven days ago (or 28 days for Janssen); if you suffer from an immunodeficiency disorder; or if you have come into contact with someone infected with the Omicron variant, you should get an antigen test as soon as possible. This is free if you have received an alert via the TousAntiCovid app or Ameli. 

  • If the test is negative

It is possible that you have been infected but the test hasn’t picked it up yet. Self-isolate for seven days and then take another test. If you have fever or other Covid symptoms before seven days, take another test. If you have breathing difficulties, call a doctor or dial 15. 

When you take your test on day seven, if it is negative, you can come out of self-isolation. If it is positive, you must add a further ten days to your self-isolation, and follow the procedure below: 

  • If the test is positive

You have been infected and are contagious. Remain in isolation for ten days after receiving your test result. If you have breathing difficulties, contact a doctor or dial 15. If you live with other people, they will be considered as cas contact and must immediately self-isolate if they are not vaccinated. After ten days, if you have had no fever or breathing difficulties for 48 hours, you can end your self isolation and do not need to do another test. 

If you are not fully vaccinated and are a cas contact, you should work remotely. If this is not an option, you should ask for an arrêt de travail so that you can stop work and self-isolate. You can do this via the Ameli site. 

You live with someone who is infected 

If you live with someone who has tested positive, you are considered a cas contact. You must follow the procedures mentioned above, according to your vaccination status. Once again, if your housemate is known to be infected with the Omicron variant, you must follow the same procedure as an unvaccinated person. 

Children living with a cas contact should not go to school until they have ended their self-isolation period: which is a minimum of seven days since they take the initial test, or longer for unvaccinated children. 

A timeline of Covid infection in a typical household. Source: mesconseilscovid.sante.gouv.fr

There are some basic ways to help avoid infection if you live with someone who has tested positive.

Where possible avoid close proximity: try to isolate the infected person in a separate room with the door close; do not share a bed with infected person; do not share things like towels, soap, cutlery, plates, phones; do not eat together. 

Ensure sanitary conditions in the household: aerate your home for ten minutes per hour throughout the day; avoid activities that disperse dust particles throughout the house like vacuum cleaning; ask the infected person to clean all the surfaces they touch like door handles, sinks, bathroom surfaces etc. with bleach-based or alcohol-based cleaning products; do not allow the ill person to leave wet towels in communal areas; the infected person should put any waste products in a separate bin, double-bagged. 

If it is impossible for you to avoid contact with the infected person because of the size of your accommodation for example, you should wear a mask, try to keep a two metre distance, and avoid discussions of 15 minutes or more. 

Can I get vaccinated if I am a cas contact

If you have been in contact with someone who has covid and you haven’t since tested negative seven days after this contact, you should not get vaccinated. If you live with someone who has tested positive, you must wait for 17 days after this person’s symptoms first appeared to do a test. If you test negative, you can get vaccinated. 


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