Bulldog Josh Dunkley in action against Gold Coast in round 18, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

WESTERN Bulldogs midfielder Josh Dunkley says he was shocked to learn he had visited a Tier 1 COVID-19 exposure site and received about 260 test messages when news filtered through of his forced isolation.

Dunkley was forced into home isolation on Monday after the local cafe he visited was deemed a high-risk exposure site.

The 24-year-old had only just returned from a three-month shoulder injury and news he would miss Saturday night's top-of-the-table clash with Melbourne was a bitter blow.

"Initially I was pretty sad," Dunkley told westernbulldogs.com.au.

"To come back after being out for about 11 weeks and playing my first game, I thought I was OK.

"For the shoulder to heal, it's important to continue to get that match fitness stuff in. So to be out of the team this week is pretty sad and pretty hard for me."

Western Bulldog Josh Dunkley in action against Gold Coast in round 18, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Dunkley was taken aback when he received a text message from the government informing him of the need to immediately isolate.

"I didn't expect it to happen. Obviously players, we're always keeping an eye out for certain things. But there hadn't been any COVID in Kew where I live for quite a while," he said.

"So to be exposed to a Tier 1 exposure site - it shocked me initially. When I first saw it, I was like, 'wow'.

"And then to get the text message from the government saying you've got to isolate for 14 days, it was crazy and something I'll always remember."

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Luckily for Dunkley he has a comprehensive home gym set-up, so he's been doing his best to mirror the workouts of his teammates.

But it was his thumbs getting the biggest workout once the news dropped of his brush with COVID-19.

"I actually had about 260 text messages on Monday," Dunkley said.

"It was pretty crazy - a lot of texts and phone calls.

"A lot of people have reached out and are checking in and wondering if I'm OK and if I need anything dropped off."

Dunkley gets out of quarantine next Wednesday and is hoping to be selected for the match against Adelaide in round 20.