Testing positive for COVID-19

Find out how to manage symptoms and protect those around you if you test positive.

How do you know you have COVID-19

A positive result on a COVID-19 test indicates that you are infected with COVID-19.

Learn more about testing.

What to do if you test positive

Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 can pass the virus onto others.

While isolation is no longer a legal requirement, if you test positive for COVID-19, staying at home protects the people in your community.

If you test positive, you should not visit high-risk settings like hospitals and aged and disability care settings:

  • for at least 7 days or until symptoms have gone
  • unless seeking immediate medical care.

To help protect those around you, we recommend:

If you have any appointments you cannot miss (visit to a doctor, family violence service or police), let them know in advance that you have COVID-19.

If you feel unwell or need COVID-19 advice for someone in your care, talk with your health provider, or speak to a nurse by calling the healthdirect helpline on 1800 022 222.

If you develop symptoms such as severe shortness of breath or chest pain, call triple zero (000) immediately. Tell the call handler and the paramedics on arrival if you have COVID-19.

Manage your symptoms

Most people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all (asymptomatic).

You can manage these symptoms 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.

If you are eligible, your GP can prescribe COVID-19 oral treatments to reduce your chance of severe illness or hospitalisation.

Seek urgent medical attention (call 000) if you 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
  • difficultly waking up
  • little or no urine output
  • coughing up blood.

If your child has COVID-19

Severe COVID-19 in children is rare. Most children will have no, or only mild symptoms.

If you are worried about your child’s symptoms, contact your GP as soon as possible.

A GP or nurse will treat your child based on their age, symptoms and past medical history.

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

Most people who test positive for COVID-19 recover completely, but some people may develop long COVID.

COVID-19 vaccinations, including boosters, reduce your risk of re-infection and gives the best protection against severe illness from COVID-19.

After testing positive, you should wait 6 months before making a booster dose appointment.

Book an appointment using healthdirect's Service Finder.

Date last updated:

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