Testing positive for COVID-19
It is no longer a legal requirement for people diagnosed with COVID-19 to isolate.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you must not visit high-risk settings like aged and disability care facilities and hospitals, unless seeking immediate medical care, until at least 7 days after testing positive and you have no symptoms of COVID-19.
For the 7 days following your positive test result, you may consider additional precautionary measures to protecting the health of your loved ones, and those most at risk from severe COVID illness in the community.
To help protect those around you:
- Avoid contact with people who are at higher risk of severe disease, including immunosuppressed people, older people, and people with a disability with multiple conditions
- Wear a mask when in an indoor setting outside the home
- Work from home where practical
- Practise careful hand and respiratory hygiene
- Follow any jurisdictional testing advice when leaving the home
In some states or territories, high-risk settings may require COVID-19 cases to follow additional requirements.
For most recent advice, visit your local state or territory health department website.
Workers providing close personal care in high-risk environments such as residential aged and disability care facilities and hospitals must not attend work for 7 days after testing positive for COVID-19 and while symptoms persist.
Call the National Coronavirus Helpline for information about how to look after yourself when you are sick with COVID-19.
You can find translated information about testing positive for COVID-19 in over 60 languages.
State and territory health authorities have information, resources and links for more support for people with COVID-19:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- North Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
Stay at home if you have COVID-19
Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 can pass the virus on to others.
While isolation is no longer a legal requirement for anyone diagnosed with COVID-19, staying at home protects the people around you and the broader community from COVID-19.
Like other respiratory illnesses, it is recommended if you have symptoms you should stay at home:
- Do not attend work or school, visit public areas, or travel on public transport, in taxis or ride-share services.
- If you have an appointment you cannot miss – such as a visit to a doctor, family violence service or police – you should tell them that you have COVID-19.
Whilst staying at home, if you reside with others, where possible you should try to:
- avoid shared spaces in the house
- wear a mask when moving through shared areas
- wipe down any surfaces you touch
- use a separate bathroom that others do not use. If you share a bathroom, wipe down any surface you touch and flush the toilet with a closed lid
- avoid having visitors, unless they are providing necessary medical or personal care, or emergency services
- have all groceries and other essential items delivered to your home
If you are breastfeeding, you should continue to breastfeed or express breastmilk if you are feeling well. Research shows that mothers who have had COVID-19 pass antibodies to their infant via breastmilk.
Visit the Australian Breastfeeding Association for more information about breastfeeding and COVID-19.
Most people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all (asymptomatic). These can be managed with over-the-counter medication. Find out more about managing COVID-19 at home.
Try to get plenty of rest, drink lots of water and eat well. You can still do moderate exercise if you feel well enough, within your home and/or garden if you have one.
Seek urgent medical attention if develop severe symptoms such as:
- difficulty breathing
- an oxygen level of less than 92% when tested with a pulse oximeter
- blue lips or face
- pain or pressure in the chest
- cold and clammy, or pale and mottled, skin
- fainting or collapsing
- being confused
- becoming difficult to wake up
- little or no urine output
- coughing up blood.
If you are unsure if your symptoms are severe use the HealthDirect COVID-19 symptom checker.
Medical care while you are positive
Your state and territory health authority will connect you with a GP, nurse or other health care provider to support you while you are sick.
The GP or nurse will work with you to monitor your symptoms for as long as you are sick. You may need to monitor your temperature, oxygen levels and heart rate.
The GP or nurse can also advise you of any other medicines that might be needed to manage your symptoms, like paracetamol or ibuprofen. Oral rehydration solution can be used to help keep you well hydrated, especially if you have nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
Medicines to treat COVID-19
While there is no cure for COVID-19, there are several medicines that are proving to be effective treatments for people with COVID-19.
You cannot buy these treatments yourself, they must be prescribed by a health care professional.
Mental health and wellbeing
If the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are making you feel anxious, stressed and worried you can access a range of mental health support services.
If your child has COVID-19
Having your child diagnosed with COVID-19 can be very stressful for you and your family. Severe COVID-19 in children is rare, most children will have no, or only mild symptoms.
A GP or nurse will treat your child based on your child’s age, symptoms and past medical history.
Try to keep your child separated from other family members where practical.
If you are worried about your child’s symptoms contact your GP as soon as possible. If they are showing severe symptoms, call 000 immediately.
Learn more about caring for a child, family member or housemate with COVID-19.
Caring for yourself after COVID-19
Make time to follow-up with your doctor after you have recovered from COVID-19.
Most people who test positive for COVID-19 recover completely, but some people may develop long COVID.
Talk to your GP if you are experiencing ongoing mental health issues such as:
- trouble thinking clearly, focusing, or remembering
- depression, anxiety or other mental health problems.
Vaccination and boosters
Being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 reduces your risk of severe illness, hospitalisation and death.
If you are not vaccinated against COVID-19, or it has been 6 months since your last booster dose or COVID-19 infection, you should make an appointment.
All adults aged 18 years and older can consider a booster dose if it’s been 6 months or longer since their last COVID-19 booster or confirmed infection (whichever is most recent) for additional protection against severe illness from COVID.
Read more about booster eligibility for an early 2023 COVID-19 booster dose.
The National Coronavirus Helpline provides information and advice about what to do if you have tested positive for COVID-19. The line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Multilingual callers can press option 8 for free interpreting assistance.