Frequently asked questions

Isolation

Health support

Housing

Living with someone who has COVID-19

Recovered from COVID-19

Testing

Close contact

Technology support

Isolation

How long do I need to isolate for?

If you test positive to COVID-19, you must isolate for 7 days after you had your positive COVID-19 test taken. When calculating your isolation period, the date the positive test is taken is day 0.

If you have symptoms including a sore throat, runny nose, cough, or shortness of breath in the last 24 hours of your isolation, you should stay in isolation until 24 hours after your symptoms have resolved.

On days 8 to 10 after finishing isolation, you should:

  • wear a mask when around other people
  • not attend high risk settings (hospitals, aged care, disability care, correctional services). If you work in a high risk setting, advise your employer before returning to work.
  • continue to follow this advice on days 8 to 14 if you have a weakened immune system (transplant recipient or receiving chemotherapy).

If you have concerns, contact your GP or the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.

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I’ve tested positive to COVID-19 and someone in my household has later tested positive, how long do I need to isolate for?

If you test positive to COVID-19, you will need to isolate for 7 days after your positive COVID-19 PCR test taken or you tested positive using a rapid antigen test. If someone in your household subsequently tests positive to COVID, this will not affect your isolation time.

If you have no acute COVID-19 symptoms in the last 24 hours of your isolation, you can leave isolation at the end of your 7 days, even if someone is still positive or in quarantine in your house.

If you have symptoms including a sore throat, runny nose, cough, or shortness of breath in the last 24 hours of your isolation, please stay in isolation until 24 hours after your symptoms have resolved.

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Will SA Health notify me when my isolation period ends?

Yes. You will be sent a clearance SMS from SA Health that will enable you to download your clearance certificate.

You can leave isolation after 7 days if you do not have acute symptoms, including a sore throat, runny nose, cough, or shortness of breath.

If you have symptoms including a sore throat, runny nose, cough, or shortness of breath in the last 24 hours of your isolation, please stay in isolation until 24 hours after your symptoms have resolved.

If you are not getting better or have concerns, contact your GP or the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.

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Do I need to get tested to leave isolation?

No. You do not need to have a PCR test or rapid antigen test to leave isolation. This is because the virus can sometimes be detected on swabs for up to 3 months after the infection, due to shedding of the virus.

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Do I need a PCR test to return to work?

No. You can resume work after finishing isolation without a PCR clearance test. You do not need to undertake surveillance RAT or PCR testing for 12 weeks after your release from isolation. This is because COVID-19 tests can detect old virus or shedding and reinfection is very unlikely within a month after your infection.

If you do test positive on a rapid antigen test within 12 weeks of your clearance, no further action is required, provided you have no symptoms.

If you work in a high risk setting, advise your employer before returning to work.

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Health support

How do I know if my symptoms are worsening?

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.

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Who do I contact if I need medical support?

You can access health support via the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 (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.

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Are there any COVID-19 treatments available?

COVID-19 treatments are available for people who are at higher risk of severe disease and health outcomes. This includes people who are not fully vaccinated, have a low immune system or who have multiple risk factors, such as a chronic condition, for example, diabetes.

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, who can refer you either to a COVID Care Centre or provide a script for anti-viral tablets.

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What happens if I am pregnant and testing positive to COVID-19?

If you are pregnant and have tested positive to COVID-19 you should contact as soon as practical your maternity care providers, such as your GP, obstetrician or midwife. They will be able to assess your health needs and advise the best way to access your regular maternity care while you are isolating with COVID-19.

Find more information about pregnancy and COVID-19.

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Housing

Can I move to suitable accommodation during my isolation period?

Yes. You can leave isolation to travel to more suitable accommodation to undergo your isolation period. Travel directly there and do not stop anywhere on the way.

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I have been asked to leave my hotel/caravan park/accommodation after testing positive. Where can I go? Can I go back to my state of origin?

You will need to find alternative accommodation or you can travel back via the most direct route in a private vehicle and continue isolation in your home. 

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I am an international student living in shared accommodation. I have tested positive to COVID-19 and need to move out but I have no family or friends here. Where do I go?

Please discuss with your accommodation provider whether alternative accommodation with your own bathroom is available or protocols for using the bathroom.

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How do I get food delivered if I have tested positive to COVID-19 and live in an apartment block with no access for external deliveries?

If you need to leave your room to go into a common area, ask other members in the house to move to a room where you won’t be accessing or passing through and wear a mask. Avoid touching surfaces or items unnecessarily and clean all surfaces that you touched.

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My children are subject to custody court orders, can I send them to the other parent if they or one of the parent/caregivers have tested positive to COVID-19?

Yes. If your child is subject to custody court orders, they can move between caregiver households during the isolation period. The caregiver and other people in the household will need to follow the advice of a close contact.

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Living with someone who has COVID-19

If I live with someone who has tested positive to COVID-19 and then someone else in the house tests positive, how long do I need to quarantine for?

If someone in your house tests positive to COVID-19, you must:

  • wear a mask when you leave the house for 7 days after your exposure date (12 years and older)
  • undertake 5 rapid antigen tests over the 7 days after your exposure date (with at least 24 hours between tests and one test on day 7)
  • report your rapid antigen test results if you test positive
  • not attend Tier 1 sensitive settings for 14 days after your exposure date, except for the purposes of obtaining medical care or medical supplies
  • not attend Tier 2 sensitive settings for 7 days after exposure date, except for the purposes of obtaining medical care or medical supplies
  • notify your employer or school or early childcare settings that you are a close contact

In addition to the above mandatory requitements, it is strongly recommended you:

  • avoid non-essential gatherings for 7 days after your exposure date
  • avoid contact with people at risk of severe illness for 7 days after your exposure date
  • work from home where possible
  • report your rapid antigen test results even if you test negative
  • notify healthcare and high risk setting prior to arrival for, medical care or medical supplies

You do not need to restart the close contact guidelines if another person in your household tests positive during your 7 day period or in the 14 days after your quarantine period ends.

If you develop and COVID-19 symptoms, get a PCR test as soon as possible. If you test positive to COVID-19, you will need to isolate for 7 days from the date your positive test was taken.
If someone in your house tests positive more than 14 days after your close contact period ends, you will need to follow the requirements for close contacts.

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Recovered from COVID-19

I have recovered from COVID-19 and been in close contact with a positive case, do I need to quarantine?

If you have recovered from COVID-19, you will not be considered a close contact for 12 weeks after your release from isolation.

After 12 weeks, you will still be considered a close contact if you are exposed to COVID-19 and meet the close contact definition. You will need to follow the close contact guidelines.

If you develop new onset symptoms after 12 weeks, you should still get a PCR test and stay home until you receive a negative result.

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I have recovered from COVID-19 and someone else in my house has tested positive, can I stay with them and not isolate?

If it has been less than 12 weeks after your release from isolation, you are able to live with someone who has tested positive to COVID-19 and not have to isolate, as you are not considered a close contact.

It is important to continue to practice good hand hygiene like covering coughs and sneezes and wipe down frequently touched surfaces.

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I have recovered from COVID-19 and have COVID-19 symptoms, do I need to get a PCR test?

While it is unlikely you will be reinfected with COVID-19 within 12 weeks of recovering, it is not impossible. If you develop new COVID-19 symptoms, you should stay at home until you are feeling well and speak with your GP. Your GP may wish to also test you for other respiratory infections.

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms after 12 weeks of finishing isolation, you should get a PCR test as soon as possible.

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I have already had COVID-19, can I test positive again?

If you have already had COVID-19, it is still possible for you to catch it again. While you will likely have some protection from reinfection, your immunity can decrease over time making it possible for you to get reinfected.

You may also not have immunity from new variants of COVID-19, which means you could get reinfected.

You should not receive a COVID-19 vaccine while unwell with COVID-19 infection, however, you can be vaccinated after you have recovered from your acute illness. Getting vaccinated again will help prevent you getting infected again.

You will not be considered a close contact if you are exposed to COVID-19 for 12 weeks after being released from isolation.

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Can I still have my second dose or booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if I’ve had COVID-19?

People who have had COVID-19 can be vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccination can be deferred for up to four months as past infection reduces the chance of reinfection for at least this amount of time. However, there is no requirement to delay vaccination.

If you test positive for COVID-19 between your first and second dose, or between your second and booster dose if you are 16 and over, you should delay your next dose until you have recovered.

If you have prolonged symptoms beyond four months, speak with a health professional about getting vaccinated.

For more information, read ATAGI's Expanded Guidance on temporary medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines.

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Testing

I’ve incorrectly reported a positive result for my rapid antigen test. How do I fix this?

You can call the SA COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787 and they will be able to assist.

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I am a single parent who has tested positive for COVID-19. My child is now showing symptoms. Can I leave isolation to take them for testing?

Yes. You can leave the house to take your child to get tested. Use a drive-through testing site, wear a mask and travel directly there and do not stop anywhere on the way there or back.

If you do not have access to a car, you can travel by public transport wearing a mask to a walk-in site for testing.

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Can I drive my household to a collection point to pick up some rapid antigen tests if I have tested positive and I’m the only one in my household who can drive?

Yes. You can leave the house to pick up some rapid antigen tests at a drive-through collection point. Wear a mask and travel directly there and do not stop anywhere on the way there or back.

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Can I find out which COVID-19 variant I have?

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.

What do I do if I develop COVID-19 symptoms while on holiday in South Australia?

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms while in South Australia, you should get a PCR test as soon as possible. You should isolate until you receive a negative result.

Find your nearest testing site on the PCR testing page.

What do I do if I test positive while on holiday in South Australia?

If you test positive while travelling in South Australia you must complete your isolation in the place you are staying. This could be a hotel, motel, home or other form of accommodation. You must be able to safely stay there and separate from other people.

If you are in a hotel or motel you should stay in your room and avoid contact with other guests and staff. You can go onto a private balcony if you have one.

People who you have been in close contact with during your infectious period should follow the requirements for close contacts.

If you need health support while managing your COVID-19 symptoms, call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 (available 24 hours, 7 days).

If you are unable to stay in your current location and cannot identify alternative suitable accommodation, contact the SA COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787 for housing support.

What do I do if I test positive while travelling through South Australia?

If you test positive to COVID-19 while travelling through South Australia and you can safely continue to drive home, you must travel by the most direct route and not stop along the way.

If you need to stop for fuel, you must use a contactless petrol station and wear a mask when you leave your vehicle. If you are stopping to use amenities, wipe over frequently touched surfaces.

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Close contacts

Do I have to tell my workplace, school or early childhood care service that I have COVID or that I am a close contact?

Yes, you are required to notify your employer, school or early childhood service if you test positive to COVID-19 or you are a close contact.

As a close contact, what time of day do I have to undertake a rapid antigen test?

You must undertake 5 rapid antigen tests over 7 days after your exposure. Where possible, you should undertake this rapid antigen test prior to leaving your home.

I am a close contact, can I leave isolation to collect a prescription from a pharmacy?

Yes, you can attend a pharmacy to access medical supplies.

I am a close contact, can I access rapid antigen tests?

If you are a close contact with no COVID-19 symptoms, you can access free rapid antigen tests from RAT Collection Points across the state. You must register before collecting your kits from the RAT Collection Point.

If you can’t access a RAT Collection Point, you can use rapid antigen tests that you have purchased from a retail outlet.

If you cannot access rapid antigen tests, you can get a PCR test on day 1 and day 6 after your exposure. You can leave quarantine after the initial test is collected, provided you do not have COVID symptoms.

I am a close contact, can I get my blood taken or drop off a sample at a pathology collection centre?

Yes, you can visit a pathology collection centre to access medical care.

I am a close contact can I attend by chiropractor appointment?

Yes, you can attend the chiropractor to access medical care, however, it is strongly recommended you reschedule your appointment where possible.

I am a close contact, can I go to the dentist for a regular check-up?

You should reschedule your dental appointment, unless it is an emergency.

I am a close contact, can I go to the dentist for emergency dental work?

Yes, you can attend the dentist to access emergency medical care.

My child is a close contact. I am not comfortable conducting a RAT on my child. What do I do?

Your child can have a PCR on day 1 and day 6 after exposure. Your child can leave quarantine after the initial test is collected, provided he/she does not have COVID symptoms.

My one year old child is a close contact and the manufacturer’s instructions do not recommend use on children under 2, what do I do?

Your child can have a PCR on day 1 and day 6 after exposure. Your child can leave quarantine after the initial test is collected, provided he/she does not have COVID symptoms.

I am a close contact, can I take my child to a regular doctor appointment?

Close contacts can attend GP appointments for medical care. If the appointment is not urgent, we strongly recommend you reschedule. If it is urgent and another carer cannot take your child to the appointment, you can attend the GP. Please follow the advice recommended by your general practice.

I am a close contact, can I attend my gym class?

No, as a close contact, you must wear a mask when you leave the house for 7 days after your exposure. During exercise inside a gym class, this is not possible.

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Technology support

I have been sent a SMS for a survey and it doesn’t work. What do I do?

You can call the SA COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787 and they will be able to assist.

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My household has all tested positive to COVID-19 but not everyone has received a SMS. What do I do?

Not everyone will receive a text message, which may be due to the mobile number entered at the timing of undertaking a PCR test or entering a positive RAT result.

Please contact he National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 (available 24 hours, 7 days) or your usual GP if you have any health concerns.

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