COVID-19 antigen test results

There are 3 types of antigen test results:

Positive antigen test result

If you have a positive (detected) antigen test result you need to:

Reporting a positive antigen test cannot be used as proof of recovery to get a COVID-19 recovery certificate.

You need a PPS number to report your result online. If you do not have one, freephone HSE Live on 1800 700 700 to report your result and list your contacts.

How long to self-isolate

You should self-isolate (stay in your room) as soon as you notice symptoms of COVID-19 or get a positive COVID-19 test result. Either of these are considered day zero when you’re counting your days of self-isolation.

You need to self-isolate (stay in your room) for 7 full days. You can stop self-isolating after 7 days have passed if you have no symptoms or your symptoms are mostly gone. It's OK to stop self-isolating even if you have a mild cough or changes to your sense of smell – these can last for weeks after the infection has gone.

If you have a vaccine appointment

Do not go to a vaccine appointment if you currently have COVID-19 (confirmed by a PCR or antigen test).

You should wait:

  • 3 months if you are due to get a booster dose or additional dose (immunocompromised)
  • 4 weeks if you are due to get your first round of COVID-19 vaccination

Phone HSELive on 1800 700 700 to get a new appointment date.

Use this form to postpone your booster appointment if you had COVID-19

After your 7 days of self-isolation

When you stop self-isolating after 7 days, you need to take extra care for another 3 days to reduce the risk of passing COVID-19 on.

Be especially careful in places that are:

  • crowded
  • enclosed
  • poorly ventilated
  • hard to avoid close contact with people

You should:

  • limit close contact with other people outside your household
  • wear a face covering
  • take an antigen test if you have to be in close contact with people or go to a crowded, enclosed or poorly ventilated space
  • avoid contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19
  • work from home unless it is essential to go to work in person
  • follow all the usual advice on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19

Your close contacts

You will need to report your positive antigen test result and list your close contacts.

Before you start, write down your close contacts:

  • names
  • mobile phone numbers
  • when you were last in contact with them
  • their address and date of birth, if you know them

How long to go back

If you had symptoms of COVID-19 before your test, include all household and non-household close contacts from 48 hours before you developed symptoms.

If you did not have symptoms of COVID-19 before your test, include all household and non-household close contacts from 24 hours before your test.

Places you have been

Think back about any:

  • social visits outside of your home
  • any visitors to your home
  • trips you had - bus, train, plane, ferry, taxi, or a lift in a car with someone else
  • sport or activities with other people
  • services you got like hair, beauty or health appointments

If you were at an event or in shared accommodation, write down the name and mobile phone number of the manager, event organiser or COVID officer.

Who not to include

Do not include people:

  • who were not in close contact with you
  • you were in contact with more than 48 hours before you developed symptoms, or more than 24 hours before your test, if you did not have symptoms
  • you saw briefly and did not touch, for example talking to someone for a few minutes more than 2 metres apart

Anyone who was not in close contact with you does not need to restrict their movements. For example, people who live with your close contacts, or friends of your close contacts.

Your workplace

Phone your employer to let them know you have tested positive for COVID-19 if you were in your workplace:

  • 48 hours before your symptoms began
  • 24 hours before your positive COVID-19 test result - if you did not have symptoms of COVID-19

Negative antigen test result

If you have a negative (not detected) antigen test result, you need to report your negative antigen result. This helps us learn more about antigen testing.

A negative test does not mean that you do not have COVID-19. It just means that the virus was not found on the sample you took.

Continue to follow the public health advice on how to protect yourself and others.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, continue to self-isolate until you've had no symptoms for 48 hours.

Invalid test result

If you have an invalid test result, do another test.

Last updated: 20 January 2022 at 1.45am

Talk to a breastfeeding expert