What to do if I test positive for COVID-19
Most people who test positive to COVID-19 will be able to safely recover at home. Find out about what steps you should take and how you can access support.
The time it takes to recover from COVID-19 will vary from person to person.
It is normal for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 to last for several weeks after testing positive. However, some people may have ongoing, persistent symptoms that can make it difficult to continue with your day-to-day activities.
Long COVID or Post COVID-19 Syndrome refers to the ongoing physical, mental, emotional and cognitive symptoms that a person may continue to experience for more than 12 weeks after testing positive.
For patients with symptoms lasting between 4 weeks to 12 weeks since COVID-19 diagnosis, this is termed “Ongoing symptomatic COVID-19”
There is a wide range of symptoms reported by people experiencing Long COVID. The most common symptoms are fatigue, cough and shortness of breath.
Common Long COVID symptoms include:
It is important to remember:
If you develop new COVID-19 symptoms more than 28 days after your recovery from COVID-19, get a PCR test as it is possible that you have been reinfected.
If you have ongoing COVID symptoms beyond four weeks after recovery or are concerned you might have Long COVID, make an appointment with your GP.
COVID-19 infection can also cause a range of complications or medical problems, so it is important to attend for assessment by your GP.
A GP will be able to assess your symptoms, decide if further tests are needed and support your Long COVID recovery. When symptoms are persisting or severe, your GP may refer you to a specialist long COVID clinic for additional care.
Long COVID clinics have been established to be accessed via GP referral at Royal Adelaide Hospital, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre. The Women’s and Children’s Hospital will also provide a specialist service for children with Long COVID symptoms through its outpatients clinics.
When recovering from illness, such as COVID-19, it is common for your symptoms and energy levels to change. If you are feeling well, you may try to do more things, but this could make you feel unwell and you may need to rest. Remember that you need rest to recover.
Fatigue from Long COVID can be severe. For Long COVID patients experiencing fatigue, a small task can cause profound physical exhaustion and difficulty concentrating. This can be frustrating and stressful. It is important to pace, plan and prioritise your activities, in order to avoid becoming this exhausted.
Most people make a full recovery, but it may take time. Monitor your symptoms and seek help if you are not improving or if you need support. It can also be helpful to ask family and friends for support if you need it. Long COVID patient support groups are also emerging.
Find more information on Managing your COVID-19 symptoms at home.