Isolating at home if you are COVID-19 positive

If you get COVID-19, you need to isolate immediately. Most people with COVID-19 will have mild to moderate symptoms (and some may not have any symptoms), which means they can safely isolate in their own home with appropriate monitoring and care.

How do I isolate?

  • You must stay in your home or at a suitable accommodation at all times, unless you need to seek urgent medical care.
  • You must not have visitors or leave your home. This means you must not go to public places such as work, school, childcare, university, shopping centres, parks, social or religious gatherings.
  • You must not go shopping or to restaurants. Shop online or have family or friends deliver what you need to your door. Do not open the door until the person making the delivery has left.

How long do I need to stay in isolation for?

You can leave isolation 10 days after you had your positive COVID-19 PCR test taken, unless otherwise advised by SA Health.

If you have persistent symptoms, call the COVID-19 Response Care Team on 1800 272 872.

After you receive your positive PCR test result, you do not need to be tested again and you do not need to have a clearance test. This includes PCR and rapid antigen tests. This is because the virus can sometimes be detected on PCR swabs for up to 3 months after the infection, due to shedding of the virus.

I live with other people in my home, what do I need to do?

  • You must stay in a separate room away from others and, if possible, use a separate bathroom.
  • Do not have physical contact with other people in your home.
  • Keep your door closed at all times and avoid the use of fans that may force air from your room out into the rest of the house.
  • If you need to leave your room (e.g. to go to the bathroom, laundry or kitchen):
    • ask other members in the house to move to a room where you won’t be accessing or passing through.
    • put on your mask and clean your hands using hand sanitiser before leaving your room and avoid touching surfaces or items unnecessarily.
    • clean all surfaces that you touched.
  • Avoid sharing any household items (e.g. cups, glasses, plates, utensils, towels or bedding) with others in your house. If this occurs, the item must be cleaned after use.
  • Practice good hand hygiene like covering coughs and sneezes and wiping down surfaces.

How long do people in my household need to quarantine for?

If people in your household cannot appropriately quarantine away from you, they must quarantine for 14 days from the date you had your test taken. They do not need to have a COVID-19 PCR test unless they develop any symptoms.

If at any time they test positive to COVID-19 during their quarantine period, they must isolate for 10 days.

If they can appropriately quarantine away from you in the same household, or elsewhere, they must follow the below advice for close contacts:

  • immediately quarantine for 7 days since they last saw you
  • get a COVID-19 PCR test immediately
  • get a COVID-19 PCR test again on day 6 after exposure (a negative day 6 PCR test is required to be released from quarantine)
  • get a COVID-19 PCR test again immediately if symptoms develop
  • not attend high risk settings or COVID Management Plan events for 14 days after exposure
  • wear a surgical mask when around others
  • avoid contact with vulnerable people (young children, elderly, pregnant, people with chronic health conditions), avoid non-essential activities, avoid working across worksites and avoid shared spaces and maintain physical distancing on days 8 to 14 after exposure.

What happens if I become very sick while I am in isolation?

If you are feeling very sick or are concerned about your symptoms at any time, please contact the COVID-19 Response Care Team on 1800 272 872.

If you have worsening 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.

Some people will need to receive short-term treatment or healthcare at a dedicated COVID Care Centre, before being able to go back home to isolate.

What support will I receive if I am isolating at home?

If you can safely isolate at home, the COVID-19 Response Care Team will assess what health support you need.

Visit wellbeing support for information about looking after your mental health and wellbeing during isolation, and supports and services that are available.