What to do if you test positive to COVID-19 – Checklist

Last Updated: 15 Jul 2022 3:38pm

Your 7-step checklist if you have tested positive

Step 1: Look after your health

If you test positive for COVID-19 it is important to look after your health and get help if needed.

Contact your usual General Practitioner (GP) or health care provider if you test positive to COVID-19. If you don’t have a regular GP, call the COVID@homeplus care team on 1800 973 363. See Understand your symptoms for more information.

If your symptoms get seriously worse, especially if it happens very suddenly, or you feel like it’s an emergency, call triple zero (000) or go straight to hospital. Make sure you tell them you have COVID-19.

If your symptoms are worsening but are not serious, contact your GP or healthcare provider in the first instance, or call the COVID@homeplus team on 1800 973 363. Other community partners like your local pharmacy are also available to provide extra support, such as through telehealth and home deliveries.

Some people are high-risk of severe illness from COVID-19. These people are eligible for antiviral medication, or simply ‘antivirals.’ Find out more about COVID-19 treatments.

If you are high-risk, it is important you seek antiviral treatment as soon as possible to ensure it is most effective in treating your illness. To access antiviral treatment, contact your GP or usual health care provider in the first instance, or call the COVID@homeplus team.

If you can, you should also tell a support person who can check up on you while you are isolating, by phone or online.

Step 2: Immediately isolate for 7 days

Under the Public Health Act 1997, you must still isolate at home or in private accommodation for at least 7 days. If you’re living with others, you must isolate away from them. If you share your premises with others:

  • Avoid physical contact with the case - the confirmed case must have their own room or area away from others at all times. Sleep in a separate room/area. Make sure the home/premises has good air flow (open the windows to increase air circulation). Wear a face mask at all times if you must be near the confirmed case.
  • Do not share household items – such as cutlery, plates, towels, bedding. The items used by the confirmed case must be washed thoroughly.
  • Do not share food and drinks

Clean frequently touched surfaces (like door handles, sink taps and benches) in shared areas at least daily, using normal household detergent or disinfectant.  Read more about Isolation and how to look after your mental health during isolation.

Step 3: Register your positive Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) result

If you have tested positive using a RAT, you are required to notify the Department of Health of your test result via the online declaration form or by phoning the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

You may complete the form or phone with details for yourself or on behalf of another person, however, you must do this immediately. Positive RAT results cannot be registered after 10 days.

This is a requirement under the Public Health Act 1997 and ensures you can access the care and support you need through the COVID@homeplus program, and access financial assistance if eligible.

If you have a positive PCR test result, you do not need to report a positive RAT result.

Step 4: Tell your close contacts

Tell your close contacts that you have tested positive for COVID-19. These are household and household-like contacts. They are not required to quarantine but do need to take precautions for seven days. Read more about the close contact rules.

Close contacts are people you had contact with while you were infectious:

  • anyone who has stayed overnight in the same premises as a case during their infectious period, other than in the course of their work, or
  • anyone who has spent more than 4 hours in a residential setting with a case during their infectious period, other than in the course of their work.

A case’s infectious period is from two days prior to when they tested positive, until they are released from isolation.

A person is not a close contact if the case was isolating in a separate part of the premises, for example a granny flat.

Tips for telling your close contacts:

  • Let them know first, before any other contacts, as they are at the highest risk of becoming a COVID-19 case
  • Tell them where they can find more information about the requirements for close contacts – see Close Contacts

If another person in your household tests positive during your close contact period, your 7-day period does not start again.

Public Health, as part of managing an outbreak. may also identify close contacts and advise them to follow the rules for close contacts.

Remember it is a legal requirement under the Public Health Act (1997) to tell your close contacts you are a confirmed COVID-19 case.

Your close contacts have a legal responsibility to follow the requirements for close contacts.

Step 5: Tell your social contacts

You must tell your social contacts that you have tested positive for COVID-19. Social contacts do not need to quarantine however they must get tested if they develop any symptoms.

Social contacts are people who have:

  • had 15 minutes of face-to-face contact with a confirmed case, or
  • spent over 2 hours with a confirmed case in the same indoor space during their infectious period*.

They are not people from your workplace or school.

If they develop symptoms, they must get tested and stay in quarantine until they receive a negative test result.

People who are your close contacts cannot follow this advice, close contacts must follow the close contact requirements for 7 days.

Step 6: Tell your workplace and/or education facility

If you worked onsite while infectious, you must tell your employer/workplace you have tested positive to COVID-19.

Your employer/workplace will tell other staff who are workplace contacts.

If you or your child attended an education facility (school, childcare or early childhood) while infectious, you must tell the education facility you have tested positive for COVID-19.

The education facility will tell other students and staff who are education contacts.

To reduce any risk of transmission it is important workplaces and education settings to continue following COVID-safe behaviours. These include:

You may be eligible for a grant if you lose income or earnings because you are a positive case or care for someone with COVID-19. Read more about the grants available.

Step 7: Release from isolation

Cases can be released from isolation seven days after their first positive test - only if they meet the following two criteria: 

  • Your respiratory symptoms (cough, runny nose, sore throat, or shortness of breath) have gone, or are much better and
  • you have not had a fever (or signs of fever such as chills or night sweats) for at least 24 hours.

Fever or respiratory symptoms that haven’t improved significantly could mean you are still infectious. That’s why it’s important to stay in isolation until you meet the criteria above.

If you have other symptoms after 7 days (for example tiredness or headaches) you can leave isolation but you should seek advice from your GP or other healthcare provider if you are concerned.

If you are not getting better, or you are concerned, contact your GP or healthcare provider in the first instance, or phone the COVID@homeplus team on 1800 973 363.

Your GP or healthcare provider can provide further support, help you manage your symptoms, and assess whether you need further clinical care.

Public Health will send you an email during your isolation period. This email will contain an official letter of release from isolation and can be used as proof of release or as a medical certificate.

Re-exposure to COVID-19

Within four weeks of your release from isolation

If you become a close contact of a confirmed case within four weeks of your release from isolation, you will not need to follow close contact requirements.

After four weeks from your release from isolation

If you become a close contact of a confirmed case after four weeks from your release from isolation, you will need to follow close contact requirements.

Testing after release from isolation

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 less than 4 weeks after your release from isolation, you do not need to get tested for COVID-19.

If you are immunocompromised or at risk of severe disease and you develop symptoms of COVID-19 at any time after your release from isolation, you should get tested for COVID-19 with a PCR test and discuss your symptoms with your medical practitioner.


Individual grants

Financial services and support

Emergency food relief

Emergency accommodation support

Fact sheet: What you need to do if you have COVID-19

Recovering from COVID-19 and leaving isolation

Infographic - What to do if you are a COVID positive case