If you test positive to COVID-19, you need to isolate immediately. Most people with COVID-19 will have mild to moderate symptoms (and some may not have any symptoms), which means they can safely isolate in their own home with appropriate monitoring and care.
How do I isolate?
- You must stay in your home or at a suitable accommodation at all times, unless you need to seek urgent medical care.
- You must not have visitors or leave your home. This means you must not go to public places such as work, school, childcare, university, shopping centres, parks, social or religious gatherings.
- You must not go shopping or to restaurants. Shop online or have family or friends deliver what you need to your door. Do not open the door until the person making the delivery has left.
How long do I need to stay in isolation for?
You must isolate for 7 days after you had your positive COVID-19 PCR test taken or tested positive using a rapid antigen test. You can only leave isolation after 7 days if you do not have acute symptoms, including a sore throat, runny nose, cough, or shortness of breath.
If you have symptoms including a sore throat, runny nose, cough, or shortness of breath in the last 24 hours of your isolation, please stay in isolation until 24 hours after your symptoms have resolved.
If you are not getting better or have concerns, contact your GP or the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.
On days 8 to 10 after finishing isolation, you should:
- wear a mask when around other people
- not visit hospitals (unless to access urgent medical care), correctional services, disability care or aged care facilities. If you work in a high risk setting, but no longer have symptoms, you may return to work on day 8 in consultation with your employer. Specific advice is available for people returning to work in Residential Aged Care Facilities and Disability Settings.
- continue to follow this advice on days 8 to 14 if you have a weakened immune system (transplant recipient or receiving chemotherapy).
After you receive your positive PCR test result, you do not need to be tested again and you do not need to have a clearance test. This includes PCR and rapid antigen tests. This is because the virus can sometimes be detected on PCR swabs for up to 3 months after the infection, due to shedding of the virus.
I live with other people in my home, what do I need to do?
- You must stay in a separate room away from others and, if possible, use a separate bathroom.
- Do not have physical contact with other people in your home.
- Keep your door closed at all times and avoid the use of fans that may force air from your room out into the rest of the house.
- If you need to leave your room (e.g. to go to the bathroom, laundry or kitchen):
- ask other members in the house to move to a room where you won’t be accessing or passing through.
- put on your mask and clean your hands using hand sanitiser before leaving your room and avoid touching surfaces or items unnecessarily.
- clean all surfaces that you touched.
- Avoid sharing any household items (e.g. cups, glasses, plates, utensils, towels or bedding) with others in your house. If this occurs, the item must be cleaned after use.
- Practice good hand hygiene like covering coughs and sneezes and wiping down surfaces.
What do people in my household need to do?
People living in your house must follow the below advice for close contacts:
- wear a mask when they leave the house for 7 days after their exposure date (12 years and older)
- undertake 5 rapid antigen tests over the 7 days after their exposure date (with at least 24 hours between tests and one test on day 7)
- report their rapid antigen test results if they test positive
- not attend Tier 1 sensitive settings for 14 days after their exposure date, except for the purposes of obtaining medical care or medical supplies, or except if they are an emergency services worker attending to respond to an emergency
- not attend Tier 2 sensitive settings for 7 days after their exposure date, except for the purposes of obtaining medical care or medical supplies, or except if they are an emergency services worker attending to respond to an emergency
- notify their employer or school or early childcare settings that they are a close contact
In addition to the above mandatory requirements, it is strongly recommended they:
- avoid non-essential gatherings for 7 days after their exposure date
- avoid contact with people at risk of severe illness for 7 days after their exposure date
- work from home where possible
- report their rapid antigen test results even if they test negative
- notify healthcare and high risk setting prior to arrival for, medical care or medical supplies
If at any time they test positive to COVID-19 during their quarantine period, they must isolate for 7 days.
Find more information about what your close contacts need to do.
What if my symptoms get worse?
While you are in isolation, you can access health support via the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 (available 24 hours, 7 days) or your usual GP.
The National Coronavirus Helpline will provide information and advice on managing your condition and when and where to seek help. You will also receive a text message with a link to the healthdirect COVID-19 Symptom Checker and other online digital tools to support your recovery at home.
If you have severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing at rest or chest pain or have any other medical emergency arise, call Triple Zero (000) and ask for an ambulance – tell them you are in isolation because you are COVID-19 positive.
What support will I receive if I am isolating at home?
Visit the COVID-19 health support page for information about what health support is available after testing positive to COVID-19.
Visit the Mental health support page for information about looking after your mental health and wellbeing during isolation, as well as what support and services are available.