11 July 2022

COVID-19 Reinfection update

Western Australia is adopting new national health advice on COVID-19 reinfection – updating the State’s guidelines to show reinfection can occur from four weeks after recovering from the virus.

COVID-19 reinfection cases were previously defined as a case that occurs more than 12 weeks after an initial infection.

The updated advice, from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee(AHPPC), follows the detection of an increasing number of BA.4 and BA.5 COVID-19 Omicron variants in the WA community.

WA Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson said an increase in these subvariants – which now represent over 50 per cent of new cases in WA — meant reinfections were being reported between four and 12 weeks after the initial Omicron infection.

“BA.4 and BA.5 are making up an increasing percentage of our cases, rising to more than 60 per cent of cases in the last week,” Dr Robertson said.

“This means that people who have had COVID-19 should again get tested and isolate if they have symptoms more than 28 days after recovering from COVID-19.”

WA Health is reminding Western Australians to continue to register positive Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs), in line with the new reinfection guidelines, via healthywa.wa.gov.au/ratregister or by phoning 13 COVID.

The BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are considered more contagious than earlier variants due to their increased ability to infect people who have been infected previously .

Vaccinations still protect against serious disease with these subvariants.

The Western Australian community is encouraged to stay up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations including a fourth dose if eligible, and to stay home and get tested in they develop COVID-19 symptoms.

More information about getting your winter COVID-19 booster can he found at Roll Up WA.

Information about COVID-19 reinfections is available on the HealthyWA website.