Woman resting on a couch with a blanketHow do I know if I have COVID-19?

You will know you have COVID-19 if your rapid antigen test is positive (2 lines) or you get a text message from NSW Health saying you are positive after getting a PCR (nose and throat swab) test.

What do I need to do if I test positive for COVID-19?

If you test positive for COVID-19, you will need to register your positive rapid antigen test result on the Service NSW app or website. If you need help, please call Service NSW on 13 77 88. You can also ask a family member, friend or carer to help you register your result.

When you register your rapid antigen test result online, you will be asked some questions about your medical condition. If you had a PCR test and receive a text from NSW health, you will click through a link to answer these questions.

If you test positive, you must self-isolate at home for 7 days. Self-isolation means staying in your home and staying away from others.

You must tell people you live with that you have COVID-19. They must have a rapid antigen test straight away and again on day 6. They must also self-isolate for 7 days, regardless of whether their test is positive or negative. You should self-isolate from the other people in your household as much as possible to reduce the chance that they will also catch the virus.

You should tell people you have seen in the 2 days before testing positive that you have COVID-19. This could include:

  • friends and family
  • your carers
  • your workplace
  • your school.

How will I manage COVID-19?

You will be sent information on how to self-isolate and look after yourself.

If you are at risk of serious illness from COVID-19,  NSW Health will contact you and help you.

If you are young, have had two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, are not pregnant and do not suffer from any chronic health conditions, you can safely look after yourself at home. Most symptoms can be managed with:

  • bed rest
  • pain and fever relief (like Paracetamol and ibuprofen)
  • throat lozenges for a sore throat
  • keeping hydrated with regular sips of water.

Contact your GP and tell them you have COVID-19 if you are:

  • older
  • pregnant
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander with underlying health conditions
  • Pacific Islander
  • unvaccinated
  • immunocompromised.

If you need support, call your GP or the NSW Health Flu and COVID-19 Care at Home Support Line  on 1800 960 933.

If you get really sick (you feel dizzy or confused, have chest pressure or pain or are unable to stand) call Triple Zero (000) straight away and tell the ambulance staff you have COVID-19.

When can I leave self-isolation?

You must self-isolate for 7 days from the day you were tested. You can only leave self-isolation after 7 days if you do not have a sore throat, runny nose, cough or shortness of breath. If you have a sore throat, runny nose, cough or shortness of breath in the last 24 hours of your self-isolation, please remain in self-isolation until 24 hours after your symptoms have gone away. Call your GP if you have any concerns.

You do not need to wait for a text from NSW Health and you do not need to do a test before leaving self-isolation after 7 days.

What happens after self-isolation?

While you are unlikely to get COVID-19 again for about 28 days once you have recovered, you should continue with your COVID safe behaviours such as wearing a face mask when indoors, keeping a safe distance from others (or wearing a face mask if this isn’t possible) and regularly washing your hands and using hand sanitiser.

Do not attend high risk settings like hospitals and aged care facilities for 3 days after leaving self-isolation.

If you haven’t had your booster dose before testing positive to COVID-19, you can get it once you have fully recovered. This is around 4-6 weeks after testing positive to COVID-19.


Current as at: Tuesday 24 May 2022
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW