First steps if you have COVID-19
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.
When to isolate
- 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:
- you no longer have acute respiratory symptoms
- 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
- avoid entering hospitals, residential aged care facilities and disability accommodation services
- 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)
How to isolate
Stay away from other people in your home or accommodation as much as possible to reduce their exposure to COVID-19. This may include:
- keeping 1.5 metres away from them and avoiding close contact, including touching, kissing, hugging and other intimate contact
- sleeping in a separate room where possible
- using a separate bathroom where possible
- avoiding shared areas where possible
- wearing a mask when you must use shared areas.
You should not allow anyone to visit your home or accommodation, unless it's for:
- emergency care
- medical care
- other essential care.
If you live with an elderly person or someone with a compromised immune system (immunocompromised), you or they may need to stay elsewhere. If you or they are not able to stay elsewhere, stay away from them as much as possible and wear a mask in any shared areas. They are at greater risk of being more unwell if they get COVID-19.
Practice good hygiene
Always cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, preferably with a tissue or your sleeve when you don’t have a tissue. Throw out any used tissues straight away in a rubbish bin.
Wash your hands regularly with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds regularly, and especially after you cough, sneeze, blow your nose or take off gloves and masks. You can use alcohol-based hand sanitiser if your hands are not visibly dirty. Clean your hands after putting on your mask, before going into any shared household areas.
Do not share household items
Do not share cups, glasses, plates, utensils, towels or bedding with others in your home. These items should not be used by others until they are cleaned thoroughly with detergent and water or in a dishwasher or washing machine.
Wear a mask
If you have COVID-19, you should avoid being in the same room with others, but if you do need to be in the same room, always wear a face mask covering your nose and mouth.
Keep your house open
Open doors and windows as much as you can to have good airflow, particularly in shared areas.
Keep things clean
Clean frequently touched surfaces every day with a normal household cleaning product. This includes tabletops, doorknobs, taps, sinks, phones, keyboards, remote controls, light switches and bedside tables. Pay particular attention to the kitchen, laundry and bathroom.
Monitor your symptoms
Read about managing your symptoms at home and what to do if you get sicker.
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.
Need more help?
If you need any other support while you’re in isolation, read our guide on where to get help.
Please call 134 COVID (13 42 68) if you have any questions about isolation.
For more information
- Guidelines for a person diagnosed with COVID-19 or symptoms of an acute respiratory infection in Queensland
- Fees and payments (if you were previously directed to isolate or quarantine in government-nominated accommodation)