Most people who test positive to COVID-19 will be able to safely recover at home. Get advice on the steps you should take and how you can access support.
COVID positive and close contacts
- I’ve tested positive what do I need to do?
- I've tested positive to COVID-19, how long am I infectious for?
- I am a close contact, what do I need to do?
- How do I know if my symptoms are worsening?
- Who do I contact if I need medical support?
- Are there any COVID-19 treatments available?
- What happens if I am pregnant and test positive to COVID-19?
- I’ve incorrectly reported a positive result for my rapid antigen test. How do I fix this?
- Can I find out which COVID-19 variant I have?
COVID positive and close contacts
I've tested positive, what do I need to do?
If you test positive to COVID-19, you are no longer required to isolate but you should stay home and take steps to protect others.
To reduce the risk to others, if you test positive to COVID-19 you should:
- Stay home until your 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.
I’ve tested positive to COVID-19 how long am I infectious for?
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).
I am a close contact, what do I need to do?
There are important things close contacts should do to protect others.
- Monitor for symptoms. If you get sick you should get tested and stay at home until you are well.
- Don’t visit people at high risk of severe illness, or anyone in a hospital, aged care or disability care facility. If you have to visit, do a rapid antigen test before you go.
- Wear a mask when indoors and on public transport.
- Frequent rapid antigen testing may help identify the infection early. This is particularly important if you are in contact with people at high risk of severe illness.
Following this close contact advice for at least 7 days will help to protect our community, in particular people at risk or with health vulnerabilities, while you are potentially infectious.
How do I know if my symptoms are worsening?
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 the healthdirect COVID-19 Symptom Check to help monitor your systems.
Who do I contact if I need medical support?
You can access health support via the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 (available 24 hours, 7 days) or your usual GP.
If you have severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing or chest pain or have any other medical emergency arise, call 000 (Triple Zero) and ask for an ambulance – tell them you are in isolation because you are COVID-19 positive.
Are there any COVID-19 treatments available?
COVID-19 treatments available for people who are at higher risk of severe disease and health outcomes. This includes people aged 70 and older, people aged 50 years or older with two additional risk factors, or Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people aged 30 years or older with two additional risk factors.
These treatments will not be suitable for everyone and are prescription only. If required, your health care provider will work with you to determine which treatment option is suitable for your circumstances.
If you think you may be eligible to receive one of these treatments, discuss this with your usual GP or health care provider, who can refer you either to a COVID Care Centre or provide a script for anti-viral tablets.
What happens if I am pregnant and testing positive to COVID-19?
If you are pregnant and have tested positive to COVID-19 you should contact as soon as practical your maternity care providers, such as your GP, obstetrician or midwife. They will be able to assess your health needs and advise the best way to access your regular maternity care.
Find more information about pregnancy and COVID-19.
Can I find out which COVID-19 variant I have?
SA Pathology currently undertakes analysis on some positive PCR samples to confirm which variant of COVID-19 a person has. This sample needs to go through a process called genomic sequencing, which is used to determine the entire genetic makeup of a viral specimen.
In South Australia, genomic sequencing is performed on positive samples when people are very unwell in hospital or who have recently travelled from overseas.
Genomic sequencing is used to learn more about how the virus is changing over time, monitor new variants and link cases to an outbreak.
Not every COVID-19 positive sample is genome sequenced and results are not sent to patients. You cannot request to have genomic sequencing performed on your positive sample.