If you test positive for COVID-19

What to expect if you test positive for COVID-19. This includes conversations with a health professional, contact tracers and support you will get.

Getting your results

If you test positive for COVID-19 your doctor or a health professional will be in contact with you. They will explain what it means to have COVID-19 and what you need to do.

It is nothing to be embarrassed about — it can happen to anyone. COVID-19 does not care who it infects.

From this point on:

  • you must stay at home or your accommodation, unless a health professional tells you otherwise
  • have your phone with you and answer all calls.

Contact tracing

You will need to provide details of where you have been recently and who you have seen. This is to help prevent further spread of COVID-19.

This will be a call from a contact tracer. Their job is to find out where you might have caught it, and who else you might have exposed to the virus.

If you use the NZ COVID Tracer app, they will ask you to share your digital diary and talk you through the process. If you have Bluetooth tracing turned on, the contact tracer will ask if you want to send a Bluetooth alert. If you agree, they will talk you through the process.

How contact tracing works

Going into isolation

Everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and everyone who lives with them and their close contacts will need to isolate from the community to help stop the spread of the virus.

You will get a call to discuss whether you are well set-up to isolate at home. If it is unsuitable, other options are available — this could be because of how severe your symptoms are or whether you are at-risk for complications. There are 2 ways to isolate, either:

  • at home (or in suitable alternative accommodation)
  • in a managed isolation facility.

If you are very unwell, you will receive hospital care.

What to expect when self-isolating at home

What to expect if you go into managed isolation

What your household members need to do

Anyone you live with will need to stay home for the entire time you and anyone else in your household who tests positive are isolating. Household members of a COVID-19 case are Close Contacts and will need to get a series of tests.

Contacts of someone who has COVID-19

Once the last case has been released from isolation, the rest of your household will have a further 10 days in isolation. This means they will need to isolate for longer than you.

If someone in your household tests positive for COVID-19, those who have not tested positive within the last 6 months will have their isolation period extended. 

If you are away from home

If you are travelling around the country and you test positive for COVID-19, there is a risk that you may not be able to return safely to your home to isolate. You will only be able to return home if you or a whānau member are able to drive.

You will need to prepare for the possibility you will get COVID-19 while away from home before you go on holiday.

If you test positive for COVID-19 while travelling

Care while you are in isolation

If you are self-isolating at home

You will have support from local healthcare providers to meet your health, welfare and wellbeing needs while you are recovering from COVID-19.

A 24-hour contact phone number will be available for health support, and you will get a dedicated contact person to check on you and your whānau.

Contacts for health support may differ across the country. Your point of contact may be an individual or a team from your general practice, primary care provider or from a local community health service.

Your contact person will tell you how often they will be in contact to check on you.

If you need medication, contact your doctor or your local community pharmacy who can get it safely delivered to your home.

If you are in managed isolation (MIQ)

You may go into a MIQ facility which can meet your health and welfare needs and to prevent the risk of spreading COVID-19 in your whānau and community.

Facility staff, including a dedicated health team, will check on your physical and mental health during your stay. The health team will confirm your treatment details with you – these are on a case-by-case basis.

If you are in hospital

In some cases, people with COVID-19 become very unwell and need to go to hospital. In this case, the hospital will take the steps needed to isolate you while giving you the medical care you need.

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