Important Points:

  • You do not need to automatically contact your GP if you test positive on a home rapid antigen test.
  • You MAY need to register your positive result depending on which state you live in.
  • Most people (80%) experience only mild symptoms and can safely manage at home.
  • While in isolation, stay at home and isolate yourself from other people if you live with others, and there are measures you can take to keep others in the same household safe and prevent spread.
  • If you experience any “red flag” symptoms, go immediately to hospital and/or call an ambulance.

I've Tested Positive for COVID-19 - what do I need to know?

People who test positive for COVID-19 are most likely to only experience mild symptoms (80% of patients) and recover without requiring special treatment or hospitalisation, especially if fully vaccinated.

This guide is for people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have mild to moderate symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you must follow the instructions given to you by your general practitioner (GP).  If you have no symptoms, or your symptoms are mild to moderate, it is usually safe for you to isolate and manage your symptoms at home. 

Remember: It is normal for COVID-19 symptoms to change over time. Some people will have no symptoms and some people’s symptoms might become worse over a couple of weeks. This guide is designed to help you understand what to expect when you are diagnosed with COVID-19, and what to look out for so that you know if your COVID-19 is getting worse. 

In some states you are asked to notify the public health unit that you’ve tested positive (see below for more information on how to report when you need to do so). You do not need to have a PCR (lab test) for you to be considered positive – a home rapid antigen test (RAT) is currently sufficient to be considered a positive result.

All COVID-19 patients need to be monitored closely while they recover at home. While you will have regular contact with your GP, you will need to continue to monitor your own health as well throughout this time. To help you to monitor your health at home, you will need some equipment, including a thermometer and a pulse oximeter which you can purchase from a pharmacy. You should also contact a family member or friend who can make daily contact with you to make sure you are ok.

Do not wait for your GP to contact you if you have symptoms that are causing you concern.

While in isolation, remember that this involves;

  • staying at home, unless you need to leave to get medical care or if you feel unsafe in your home
  • living in a separate room away from other people in your household 
  • ensuring others do not enter your home, unless they are providing necessary medical or personal care, or emergency services
  • having groceries and other essential items delivered to your home 
  • To help prevent spread to other household members, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, wear a mask when someone else is in the same room even briefly, try to improve ventilation in the area (eg open windows), practise good cough and sneeze hygiene (cough or sneeze into their elbow, or cover their mouth and nose with a tissue).
Most people with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms. The most commonly reported symptoms include: 
  • fever 
  • fatigue 
  • loss of taste and/or smell 
  • respiratory symptoms – coughing – increased phlegm or sputum. 
  • headache 
  • sore throat 
  • mild shortness of breath 
  • muscle or joint pains 
  • runny nose 
  • chills 
  • intermittent nausea/vomiting 
  • intermittent diarrhoea.
Most symptoms can be managed with:
  • bed rest
  • regular paracetamol and ibuprofen to relieve pain and fevers
  • throat lozenges for a sore throat
  • keeping hydrated with regular sips of water.

The following “red flag” symptoms could indicate more severe or serious illness, and you should call an ambulance and go to hospital immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • your oxygen level is 92% or less when you test using the pulse oximeter, even if you
    feel okay
  • worsening shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • blue lips or face
  • pain or pressure in the chest
  • cold and clammy, or pale and mottled, skin
  • fainting or collapse
  • being more confused
  • becoming difficult to wake up
  • little or no urine output – less urine than usual, even though you have been drinking lots of fluid
  • coughing up blood.

When can I leave isolation if I am COVID positive?

Please refer to the COVID-19 Test and Isolate National Protocols – Protocol 1 as below.