If you have COVID-19

If you have COVID-19 we recommend you isolate for at least 5 days, even if you only have mild symptoms. Find out what else you need to do.

If you test positive for COVID-19, it is recommended you isolate for at least 5 days, even if you only have mild symptoms, starting at Day 0. This includes if you have had COVID-19 before.

Day 0 is the day your symptoms started or when you tested positive, whichever came first.

Isolation means not going to work or school.

Your Household Contacts do not need to isolate. 

If you are a Household Contact of someone who has COVID-19, we recommend you do a RAT each day for 5 days. You are a Household Contact if:

  • you normally live in a house or flat on a permanent or part-time basis, for example, shared custody, with a person who has tested positive, and
  • you spent at least 1 night or day (more than 8 hours) in that residence while the person was infectious.

You are also a Household Contact if you do not normally share a residence with the person who has COVID-19, but spent a night together in the same room.

For people travelling or holidaying around New Zealand, Household Contacts include people who share non-communal holiday accommodation such as a hotel room, tent, campervan, or temporary holiday home such as a bach or AirBNB.

What to do during your recommended isolation period

You should stay at home and avoid contact with other people in your household.

Find out what to do when isolating, including advice if you need to leave isolation, and how to ventilate your home.

How to self-isolate

Ventilation and COVID-19

If you need to go out

If you need to go out during your recommended isolation, we recommend you wear a face mask. 

Some healthcare facilities and certain areas within healthcare facilities may ask visitors to wear a face mask. This is to protect those at higher risk, for example patients receiving care in an intensive care unit or emergency department of a hospital. To protect those at higher risk, respect and follow the healthcare facilities policies.

Report your test result

If you have taken a rapid antigen test (RAT), report your positive result online or by calling the helpline.

How to report your RAT result

Te Whatu Ora — Health New Zealand will then send you a text message from the official 2328 or 2648 numbers to confirm your positive result. This has information about recommended isolation and other useful advice.

If you had a PCR test, you will get a text message with your result.

If your employer asks to see proof that you are isolating, you can use this text message. You do not need a medical certificate from a doctor.

Get antiviral medicine

Free antivirals to treat COVID-19 are available for people who are at risk of developing serious illness and for some people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Medicines to treat COVID-19

Monitor and manage your symptoms

Most people with COVID-19 — especially if they are fully vaccinated and boosted — are likely to have a mild to moderate illness and will be fine to recover at home.

Symptoms for COVID-19 tend to show 2 to 5 days after a person has been infected but can take up to 14 days. Omicron causes similar symptoms to other variants.

Advice on managing your COVID-19 symptoms | COVID-19 Health Hub (external link)

If you need advice

If you need advice on how to treat your symptoms or have worsening symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider or call the COVID-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

If it is an emergency

If your symptoms get worse or you need urgent medical care, call your local healthcare provider or COVID-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453

If you or the person you are caring for develops difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, fainting or becomes unconscious, call 111 immediately.

If you require hospital-level care, it is free.

After completing your 5 days of recommended isolation, if your symptoms have resolved and you feel well, you can return to your normal activities. 

You may receive a text message confirming your isolation period has ended. You do not need to wait for an official message to leave isolation.

You do not need a negative RAT result to return to work or school. But, you should discuss your return to work with your employer or school principal. Your employer or school may require additional precautions.

If you are still sick

Some people can still be infectious after 5 days. If you are still unwell after you have completed 5 days of recommended isolation, we recommend you stay home until you are recovered.

If you do need to leave the house, we recommend you wear a mask and do not:

  • visit a healthcare facility (other than to seek medical attention)
  • visit an aged residential care facility
  • have contact with anyone at risk of getting seriously unwell with COVID-19.

After you have had COVID-19

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