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Just diagnosed with COVID-19

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

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?

If you test positive for COVID-19, you must self-isolate at home. You must follow the testing and isolation rules of your state or territory Health Department.

When should I seek medical advice?

Most people can manage COVID-19 at home. Those who have mild COVID-19 symptoms may be advised that it is safe for them to manage their symptoms at home, instead of going to hospital. Learn more about COVID-19 symptoms.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has developed a guide for people managing COVID at home. It includes a COVID-19 action plan and a diary that you can use to track your symptoms.

You should contact your GP or health service if you’re pregnant, have any chronic conditions or have any concerns about your health. Your assessment may be over the phone or by video.

If you need to attend a medical centre in person:

  • Contact the medical centre before attending to inform them that you are a confirmed COVID-19 case.
  • Take a private vehicle or walk if practical. You should not take public transport, taxis or ride-share cars.
  • Wear a face mask while travelling and in the practice. Others in the vehicle should also wear a face mask.
  • Notify reception and report directly to staff that you are a confirmed COVID-19 case. Then, follow instructions from staff.

If your symptoms worsen, contact your healthcare provider.

If you are experiencing any severe symptoms call triple zero (000) for an ambulance and tell the ambulance staff that you have COVID-19.

CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS — Use the COVID-19 Symptom Checker to find out if you need to seek medical help.

FIND A HEALTH SERVICE — The Service Finder can help you find doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and other health services.

Do I need a support person?

Contact a family member or friend and tell them you have COVID-19. Ask them to call you at agreed times so they know you are ok. This support person will help keep you safe but cannot visit you.

How do I isolate when I have COVID-19?

Self-isolation means you must stay at your home or accommodation and remain separated from others. You can’t leave your house or accommodation, unless for medical care, an emergency or an allowed purpose. This is usually for at least 7 days — the timing may differ between states and territories.

If you are in isolation, you shouldn’t go out in public. You shouldn’t go to work, school, childcare or university. Don’t travel on public transport or in taxis or ride-share services.

If you’re isolating at home, there are many support options and services available to ensure you have enough food and other essential supplies. There are also several steps you can take to look after your mental health.

Only people who usually live with you should be in your home. Do not allow visitors into your home unless it is absolutely necessary or they are providing medical or personal care.

You should separate yourself from the other members of your household as much as possible. This includes staying in a separate, well-ventilated room, sleeping alone and using a separate bathroom if one is available.

If you can't isolate in a separate room, avoid shared spaces, such as the kitchen, as much as possible. Do not share household items and wash these items thoroughly after using them.

Wear a mask when moving through shared areas. Wipe down any surfaces you touch.

What if I live in an apartment building?

If you have to self-isolate and you live in an apartment building, you will need to follow extra steps to protect other building residents from COVID-19.

  • You must remain inside your own unit. You should not use any shared or common facilities, such as the laundry room, gym, pool or outdoor areas.
  • Wash your clothes inside your own unit.
  • Ask a neighbour or contact your building manager about collecting your rubbish. Leave the rubbish outside your door, return inside your unit and close your door.
  • If you are receiving deliveries, including food, at your home, ask for them to be left outside your door. Do not open the door to pick up the delivery until the corridor is empty.

Can I isolate at a hotel or other accommodation?

You should spend your self-isolation period at the place you are staying. This may be your home, a hotel, motel or other form of accommodation. You must be able to safely stay there and separate yourself from any other people.

If you are in a hotel you must stay in your room. You should avoid contact with other guests and staff, but you can go onto your private balcony.

How do I avoid spreading the virus?

To help protect other people in your household, you should do the following.

Wash your hands frequently

Wash your hands regularly, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available, and your hands are not visibly dirty.

Wear a face mask

You should wear a mask whenever you’re in contact with other people in your house. The mask should cover your mouth and nose.

Other people in the household, or people providing care to you, should also wear a mask when in the room with you.

Learn more about how masks can help prevent COVID-19.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces

Every day, clean and disinfect any surfaces that you touch frequently. Wipe down surfaces with detergent, followed by a disinfectant (or use a 2-in-1 product with both cleaning and disinfecting properties).

If someone else is cleaning for you, they should wear a mask and gloves while doing so.

Wash your hands thoroughly once you’ve finished cleaning, even if gloves were used.

To make cleaning as easy as possible, consider reducing clutter in the room in which you are staying.

Practise good cough and sneeze hygiene

Everyone in the household should cough or sneeze into their elbow or cover their mouth and nose with a tissue. Wash your hands after discarding the tissue.

Do I need to notify my close contacts?

Close contacts are those people who:

  • are living with someone who has COVID-19; or
  • have spent 4 hours or longer with someone in a home or a health or aged-care setting since they developed COVID-19; or
  • under exceptional circumstances determined by individual states or territories

Make sure you tell these close contacts that you have tested positive for COVID-19.

You should also tell anyone who you spent time with from the 2 days before you started having symptoms or tested positive — whichever came first — that you have COVID-19. This can include people at your workplace, school or social contacts.

Tell them to follow the advice from their state or territory Health Department.

Looking for more information?

Visit healthdirect's COVID-19 information hub for more answers to questions about the coronavirus, including vaccinations and restrictions.

Resources in other languages

COVID-19 resources in other languages are available from the Department of Health, as well as from the ACT, NSW, Qld, SA, Tas, Vic and WA health departments.

Information is also available in Aboriginal languages (NT).

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: January 2022


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