First steps if you have COVID-19
From 14 October 2022, it is no longer mandatory to self-isolate at home if you test positive to COVID-19. If you have symptoms or have tested positive to COVID-19, Queensland Health strongly recommends you:
- stay home to isolate until you no longer have acute respiratory symptoms
- avoid entering hospitals, residential aged care facilities and disability accommodation services for at least 7 days and only when you no longer have any symptoms
- wear a face mask in an indoor setting and if you are unable to physically distance outside for at least 7 days after testing positive to COVID-19.
In line with this advice, some high-risk settings or other businesses may put in place additional requirements or conditions for staff, visitors and residents to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission in these settings.
You should comply with any additional requirements or conditions put in place by an operator or business to reduce the risks of community transmission.
If you get COVID-19, or have symptoms, follow the steps below. These important steps protect yourself and others.
If you learn you have COVID-19 using a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) at home, report your positive RAT result to Queensland Health.
Isolate and take precautions whilst infectious
Isolation is an effective way of reducing the spread of all respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. You should stay at home whilst infectious to help prevent infecting others.
- test positive to COVID-19 within the previous 7 days, or
- have any symptoms of acute respiratory infection
Queensland Health strongly recommends that you stay at home and isolate, until:
- your symptoms have substantially reduced and
- you've gone for at least 24 hours without a fever, without using fever-reducing painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
- for at least 7 days after receiving a positive COVID-19 test result or
- while you have any symptoms of acute respiratory infection
- wear a face mask covering your mouth whenever you are in an indoor setting outside the home
- avoid contact with people who are a higher risk of severe disease
- wash your hands regularly
- practice good respiratory hygiene (such as covering your cough)
Tell your social, work and education contacts to get tested if they have symptoms
It’s likely you will have been in contact with other people while you were infectious. It's possible you have spread the virus to others (without knowing) in the 2 days before you had symptoms or found out you have COVID-19.
If you have been in contact with anyone during that period, you need to tell them you have COVID-19 so they can monitor their own health and get tested if they feel unwell.
This might include your workplace or the place you study, or if you have children, the school or childcare they go to.
Restrictions on entering high-risk settings
Except in an exceptional circumstance or where medical treatment is required, if you have:
- tested positive to COVID-19 within the previous 7 days or
- have any symptoms of acute respiratory infection
you should not enter any high-risk settings such as:
- a hospital
- a residential aged care facility
- a disability services accommodation centre
- at least 7 days have passed since you received a positive COVID-19 test result, and
- you no longer have any symptoms.
The operators of high-risk settings may choose to impose restrictions or conditions on people who have recently tested positive to COVID-19 or had any symptoms of acute respiratory infection, such as:
- isolation processes for patients and residents
- conditions or restrictions for staff returning to work
- visitors attending the high-risk setting.
If you who have tested positive to COVID-19 within the previous 7 days or have any symptoms of acute respiratory infection and there are extenuating compassionate reasons for visiting a high-risk setting (e.g., end-of-life), you should contact the facility to discuss if this can be safely arranged.
There are no restrictions or limitations if you are seeking to enter a high-risk facility if you require medical care, aged care or disability services. However, where possible you should advise the facility that you are a diagnosed person or have acute respiratory symptoms and comply with any conditions to manage the risk to staff, patients, residents, clients and visitors to the facility.
Manage your symptoms and health
Most people who are fully vaccinated will be able to care for themselves at home, like you would for other viruses.
You may have symptoms like a fever, cough, headache or a sore throat. You may feel unwell for a day or 2, and then start to feel better. Some fully vaccinated people will have no symptoms at all.
If you're unsure whether you need medical care for your symptoms or if you feel you might require medical assessment or treatment, you can:
- call the National Coronavirus Helpline 24/7 on 1800 020 080 for assistance with connecting you to a health professional or hospital care, if required. Press 8 if you need an interpreter.
- contact your general practitioner, local GP practice or usual specialist
- use the healthdirect Australia COVID-19 Symptom and Antiviral Eligibility Checker
You may benefit from antiviral medicines if you are at high risk of developing severe illness. Find out who may be eligible and what to do to prepare.
You should seek medical advice if you:
- are not improving after 2 or 3 days, or are getting sicker
- have a chronic health condition
- are pregnant.
Keep a COVID-19 symptom diary , so you can track if your symptoms get worse.
Only call Triple Zero (000) or go to an emergency department if you have severe symptoms.
While you are staying home, use our tips on looking after your mental wellbeing.
If you are worried about your mental health, read about when to seek help and the mental health services available to support you.