Positive COVID-19 PCR test result

A positive result means the test found signs of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

You will get your result by text message. This will include a link to a website where you can upload contact details for your close contacts. If you do not use the website, a contact tracer will phone you to collect the details.

If you test positive for COVID-19, the advice on this page applies whether or not you are fully vaccinated.

If you have a vaccine appointment

If you have COVID-19, do not go to a vaccine appointment if you have one scheduled. Wait until it has been 4 weeks since you tested positive. Phone HSELive on 1800 700 700 to get a new appointment date.

Self-isolate (stay in your room)

You need to self-isolate (stay in your room) because there is a high risk you could spread the virus to other people. Do this even if you do not have symptoms of COVID-19.

Stay in a room on your own, with a window open for ventilation. Avoid contact with other people completely. Do not leave your room unless you need urgent medical attention, such as going to a hospital.

How to self-isolate (stay in your room)

What to do if your child has to isolate from other people

Contact tracing

Contact tracing identifies people that were in 'close contact' with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

It is done to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Your close contacts

Close contact can mean:

  • spending more than a total of 15 minutes of face-to-face contact within 2 metres of someone who has COVID-19, indoors or outdoors, over a 24 hour period
  • living in the same house or shared accommodation as someone who has COVID-19 - this includes sexual partners
  • spending more than 2 hours in an indoor space with someone who has COVID-19, for example, a workplace, classroom, social venue, household or transport

What your close contacts need to do

Close contacts who are not fully vaccinated need to restrict movements (stay at home). This is because they may have COVID-19 too.

If they develop symptoms of COVID-19, they should:

Telling your close contacts

If you feel comfortable telling your close contacts that you have COVID-19, please do this.

You can also share the advice for close contacts with them.

When we have their details, we will contact them with advice by text message. We will not give them your name.

Provide a list of your close contacts

When you get a positive test result, you need to provide details of your close contacts to the contact tracing team. This is the law.

List the details of your close contacts on the list your contacts website. You will need the 6-digit pin number you received in a text message from contact tracing.

Before you start, write down their names, mobile phone numbers and when you were last in contact with them. If you know their address and date of birth, this is also helpful for the contact tracer.

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

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

Tips for jogging your memory

When you're writing your list of close contacts, think back about any:

  • social visits outside of your home, who was there and where you went
  • visitors to your home – this could be, friends, family, workers – how close they were to you and how long they were in your home
  • transport – 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

You may not know the names and numbers of everyone you were in contact with. For example, if you were at an event or in shared accommodation. In these cases, it would be helpful if you can make a note of the name and mobile phone number of the venue manager, event organiser or COVID officer.

Who not to include on your close contact list

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 chatting to someone for a few minutes more than 2 metres apart

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

People who were not in close contact with you

If you test positive for COVID-19, 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.

They will not get a call from contact tracing.

If they develop symptoms, they should:

If your symptoms get worse

If you start to feel very unwell, phone your GP or GP out-of-hours. Do this if your breathing changes or becomes difficult or your cough gets worse.

Immediate action required: Call 112 or 999 if:

  • you are very short of breath and your GP is not available

Do not go to the pharmacy or shop for any reason. If you need medication, check if your pharmacy does home delivery or ask someone to go for you.

Immunity after COVID-19 infection

You are likely to be immune (protected) for at least 9 months after a COVID-19 infection.

During the 9 months you:

  • are unlikely to become infected with COVID-19 again
  • will not need to be retested unless you develop symptoms of COVID-19
  • will not need to restrict your movements (stay at home) if you are a close contact of someone else who has COVID-19


Read about community, financial and mental health supports during COVID-19

Last updated: 12 November 2021 at 9.57am

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