What to do if I have COVID-19

If you test positive in a PCR test, you will receive a text message from SA Health and/or the laboratory telling you that you have tested positive for COVID-19.

If you test positive using a rapid antigen test, you should report your positive result. After you have reported your result, you will receive a text message from SA Health with more information.

To reduce the risk to others, if you test positive to COVID-19, you should:

  • Stay home until your acute symptoms have cleared (usually 5 to 7 days)
  • If you must leave the house, wear a mask when indoors or on public transport
  • Avoid large gatherings and crowded indoor places
  • Don’t visit people at high risk of severe illness, or anyone in a hospital, or aged or disability care facility for at least 7 days.
  • Speak with your employer about when to return to work. If you work in a high-risk setting such as a health, disability and aged care, you might need to stay away from work longer to protect other staff, patients, residents and clients.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may be infectious for up to 10 days but you are most infectious in the two days before your symptoms start and while you have symptoms (runny nose, sore throat, cough and fever).

Speak to your doctor if you think you might be eligible for COVID-19 treatments

Report your rapid antigen test result

If you test positive using a rapid antigen test, you should report your result using the online form.

If you can’t report your result online and think you may be eligible for COVID-19 treatment, speak to your doctor.

Tell your close contacts

It’s likely you will have been in close contact with other people while you were infectious.

Your close contacts include people living with you or who you have spent a lot of time with indoors.

You are considered infectious two days before your symptoms started. If you didn’t have any noticeable symptoms, you are considered infectious two days before you had your positive COVID-19 test taken.

Find more information about what your close contacts should do.

Manage your symptoms and access support

It is important to monitor your symptoms while isolating at home so you know if you need to access medical support. You can also use healthdirect’s online symptom checker to help monitor
your symptoms.

If you need health support while managing your COVID-19 symptoms at home, call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 (available 24 hours, 7 days) or your usual GP.

In an emergency, or if you have severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing at rest or chest pain, call Triple Zero (000) and tell them you are COVID-19 positive.

Find COVID-19 resources in languages other than English, including posters, fact sheets, videos and audio resources in languages other than English.

Most people with COVID-19 recover completely within a few weeks. However, some people can experience longer-term effects of COVID-19. Find out more about long COVID and where to get help for ongoing symptoms.