COVID-19 positive frequently asked questions (FAQs)

If you test positive to COVID-19, you are no longer required to isolate but you should stay home and take steps to protect others.

To reduce the risk to others, if you test positive to COVID-19 you should:

  • Stay home until your acute symptoms have cleared (usually 5 to 7 days).
  • If you must leave the house, wear a mask when indoors or on public transport.
  • Avoid large gatherings and crowded indoor places.
  • Don’t visit people at high risk of severe illness, or anyone in a hospital, or aged or disability care facility for at least 7 days.
  • Speak with your employer about when to return to work. If you work in a high-risk setting such as a health, disability and aged care, you might need to stay away from work longer to protect other staff, patients, residents and clients.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may be infectious for up to 10 days but you are most infectious in the two days before your symptoms start and while you have symptoms (runny nose, sore throat, cough and fever).

There are important things close contacts should do to protect others.

  • Monitor for symptoms. If you get sick you should get tested and stay at home until you are well.
  • Don’t visit people at high risk of severe illness, or anyone in a hospital, aged care or disability care facility. If you have to visit, do a rapid antigen test before you go.
  • Wear a mask when indoors and on public transport.
  • Frequent rapid antigen testing may help identify the infection early. This is particularly important if you are in contact with people at high risk of severe illness.

Following this close contact advice for at least 7 days will help to protect our community, in particular people at risk or with health vulnerabilities, while you are potentially infectious.

It is important to monitor your symptoms while isolating at home so you know if you need to access medical support.

You can also use the healthdirect COVID-19 Symptom Check to help monitor your systems.

You can access health support via healthdirect on 1800 022 222 (available 24 hours, 7 days) or your usual GP.

If you have severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing or chest pain or have any other medical emergency arise, call 000 (Triple Zero) and ask for an ambulance – tell them you are in isolation because you are COVID-19 positive.

COVID-19 treatments available for people who are at higher risk of severe disease and health outcomes. 

These treatments will not be suitable for everyone and are prescription only. If required, your health care provider will work with you to determine which treatment option is suitable for your circumstances.

If you think you may be eligible to receive one of these treatments, discuss this with your usual GP or health care provider.

SA Pathology currently undertakes analysis on some positive PCR samples to confirm which variant of COVID-19 a person has. This sample needs to go through a process called genomic sequencing, which is used to determine the entire genetic makeup of a viral specimen.

In South Australia, genomic sequencing is performed on positive samples when people are very unwell in hospital or who have recently travelled from overseas.

Genomic sequencing is used to learn more about how the virus is changing over time, monitor new variants and link cases to an outbreak.

Not every COVID-19 positive sample is genome sequenced and results are not sent to patients. You cannot request to have genomic sequencing performed on your positive sample.