How to isolate
Information for isolating at home if you have tested positive for COVID-19
Read the below tips or the What to do if you test positive to COVID-19? fact sheet (PDF 66KB)
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 must report your positive result. After you have reported your result, you will receive a text message from SA Health with more information.
Isolate yourself away from other people as much as you can, including other people in your household.
If possible, isolate in a different house to reduce the chance of your household getting sick, if they haven’t already caught it.
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.
When calculating your 7 day isolation period, the date the positive test is taken is day 0.
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.
SA Health advice is that on days 8 to 10 after finishing isolation, you should:
After you receive your positive PCR test result, you do not need to be tested again to leave isolation and you do not need to have a clearance test.
Find more information about how to isolate if you have tested positive to COVID-19.
If you test positive using a rapid antigen test, you must report your result within 24 hours. You must report your positive result if you get your test through a designated RAT Collection Point, from a retail outlet or through any other means.
Report your result using this online form.
If you don’t have a mobile phone with internet access, you can report your result by calling the SA COVID-19 Information Line (9.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday). If you test positive outside of these hours and cannot report your result online, call as soon as possible during the SA COVID-19 Information Line’s operating hours.
It’s likely you will have been in close contact with other people while you were infectious.
Your close contacts include:
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 need to do.
After your initial positive notification, you will receive a text message from SA Health with a link to a short survey. This survey will ask questions about your occupation and high risk setting exposure and whether you can safely isolate away from others.
You may receive a follow up phone call from the Communicable Disease Control Branch.
Majority of people who test positive to COVID-19 will be able to safely manage their symptoms and isolate at home.
You will be in isolation for at least 7 days. If you’re isolating at home, make sure you have the things you need while staying safe.
Ask your family or friends who do not live with you to help by delivering groceries and medicines as needed, or you can order food online or by telephone. Major supermarkets, as well as food delivery services can deliver to most areas. Ask them to leave the food on your doorstep and wait until they have left before opening the door with a mask on.
If you need medicines (including prescription medicines), ask a family member or friend to deliver them to your home and to leave at your door. Some pharmacies offer a home delivery service. Ask for deliveries to be left at your door.
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
If you need health support while managing your COVID-19 symptoms at home, call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 (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.
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.
For COVID-19 posters, fact sheets, videos and audio resources in languages other than English, visit the translated resources page.