COVID positive patients

First steps if you have COVID-19

Like many people in the current outbreak you have caught the SARS-CoV2 virus.  It is most likely the Omicron variant but it could be the Delta variant or another variant. The following information is based on information provided by Queensland Health.

You may have learnt that you have COVID-19:

  • by taking a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and returning a positive result. If you haven’t done so, report your positive RAT result to Queensland Health.
  • taking a PCR test, and getting a text message from Queensland Health or a pathology lab telling you that you have COVID-19.  NOTE: This is currently taking quite some time to occur.

If you’ve got COVID-19, follow these five steps as outlined by Queensland Health.

If you are well or only have mild symptoms, you will be cared for at home as long as you are low risk.

Only call Triple Zero (000) or go to an emergency department if you have severe symptoms. Read more about symptoms and medical care for COVID-19 in Queensland.

Patients who are at higher risk include the following. If you are in one of these groups call us to make an urgent telehealth appointment. These patients should be managed by Queensland Health.

People are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19 if they:

  • are pregnant
  • are age 70 years and older
  • have had an organ transplant and are on immune suppressive therapy
  • have had a bone marrow transplant in the past 24 months
  • are on immune suppressive therapy for graft versus host disease
  • have had a blood cancer — for example, leukaemia, lymphoma or myelodysplastic syndrome — in the past 5 years
  • are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy

Follow these steps to isolate and care for yourself at home.  Contact us for a Telehealth appointment if you need support.

 

1. Isolate and tell your household to get tested

If you get COVID-19, you need to immediately isolate yourself at your home, or other accommodation. Isolate means you need to stay away from other people as much as possible so you don’t give the virus to someone else.

Find out how to isolate, including what support is available to you. For help because you don’t have somewhere suitable to isolate, call 134 COVID (134 268).

Tell the people that live with you.  Read more about testing  and quarantine for close contacts.

People living in your house can quarantine at home in a separate area to you. It is still important that you isolate as much as possible from these people so that you don’t give them COVID-19 if they haven’t already caught it.

For up to date guidance on isolation follow this link – https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-test-isolate-national-protocols

Ending isolation

You are required to isolate for a minimum of 7 days and have had no symptoms for 48 hours (except if the only symptom is a mild dry cough that is not getting worse).

2. Help us assess your situation

You’ve tested positive on a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT)

If you haven’t done so, report your positive RAT result to Queensland Health.

You do not need to take a PCR test to confirm a positive RAT result.

If you are well or only have mild symptoms, you will be cared for at home. For health advice, please call your GP. If you don’t have a GP or they are unavailable, you can call 13 HEALTH (134 325).

Only call Triple Zero (000) or go to an emergency department if you have severe symptoms. Read more about symptoms and medical care for COVID-19 in Queensland.

You’ve tested positive on a PCR test

You will receive a call from a health worker, on behalf of Queensland Health. They’ll ask you around 5 questions about your symptoms and your situation. Your responses will help us decide if you need home care or hospital care (PDF). NOTE: Queensland Health is currently behind on making contact with patients.

Note: you do not need to report a positive PCR result to Queensland Health. The testing clinic where you got tested will do that for you.

 

3. Tell the people you have been in contact with

It’s likely you will have been in contact with other people while you were infectious. You are deemed infectious two days before your symptoms started. If you didn’t have any noticeable symptoms, you are deemed infectious two days before you had your COVID-19 test that was positive.

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 symptoms 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.

The following are considered to be close contacts and must follow these guidelines and get tested if they have symptoms: household members and household-like contacts.

  • A household member is a person who ordinarily resides at the same premises or place of accommodation as the diagnosed person, and who are residing at the premises or place of accommodation at the time the diagnosed person receives their positive COVID-19 test result. You do not have to be related to the diagnosed person to be considered a household member.
  • A household-like contact is a person who has spent more than four hours with the diagnosed person in a house or other place of accommodation, care facility or similar.

A contact tracing officer may contact you to identify public venues you have been to. They will be responsible for alerting the public to places you have been while infectious.

 

4. Get the things you need

You will be in isolation for a minimum of 7 days. It’s important you have everything you need for staying home.

Any deliveries must be no contact.

Ask friends or family members you don’t live with to get food and medication for you and leave it at your door.

Arrange a food delivery service. Have all food left outside your house. Do not let any delivery person into your home or accommodation.

If you need a prescription filled, arrange this with your usual pharmacist or GP. They can deliver it to your home or accommodation, or you can let your friend or family member know where to collect the medication.

Home care workers and other providers of essential services like nurses are exempt from restrictions to enter your home. However, if you receive these services it is important that you let the service providers know that you have COVID-19 and are in isolation.

If you can’t get family or friends to help you, contact the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349.

 

5. Look after yourself

Most people with COVID-19 will have mild symptoms. Keep a COVID-19 symptom diary (PDF, 2 MB), so you can track if your symptoms get worse and take action.

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 and keeping healthy and active at home.

If you are worried about your mental health, read about when to seek help and the mental health services available to support you.

If you need any other support while you’re in isolation, read our guide on where to get help.

 

Medical care if you have COVID-19

COVID-19 affects everyone differently – most people become mildly unwell, and a small number will get very sick.

If you only have mild symptoms, you will be able to look after yourself at home (PDF, 834 KB).

If you are seriously unwell, you will be admitted to hospital for your care (PDF, 1 MB).

COVID-19 vaccines, ambulances and health care are free for everyone in Queensland, even if you are not an Australian citizen or permanent resident. This includes:

  • people without a Medicare card
  • overseas visitors
  • international students
  • migrant workers
  • asylum seekers.

 

If your COVID-19 symptoms get worse

It is possible to have mild symptoms at the start of your illness, but become sicker over time.

If you are receiving COVID Care at Home (PDF, 834 KB), you will also be asked to fill out a COVID-19 symptom diary (PDF, 2 MB) every day.

If your symptoms get worse and:

  • you’ve already been contacted by a health worker following your positive PCR test, use the details you were given to call a health worker or doctor; or
  • you haven’t been contacted, or you tested positive on a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT), call your GP. If you don’t have a GP, you can call 13 HEALTH.

You should call if you:

  • feel gradually more unwell or more breathless
  • have difficulty breathing when you stand up or move around
  • feel very weak, achy or tired
  • are shaking or shivering
  • have lost your appetite
  • are unable to care for yourself (e.g. dressing yourself or making food is too difficult)
  • feel unwell after 4 weeks (this may be long COVID).

If you become very unwell at home, you need to call Triple Zero (000) and ask for an ambulance. If you can, explain to the operator that you have COVID-19.

Call Triple Zero (000) if you:

  • are so breathless you are unable to say short sentences when resting
  • suddenly find it hard to breathe or your breathing has gotten worse
  • cough up blood
  • feel cold and sweaty, with pale or blotchy skin
  • have a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin and doesn’t fade when you roll a glass over it
  • collapse or faint
  • feel agitated, confused or very drowsy
  • stop urinating or are urinating much less than usual.

If you have a speech and/or hearing impairment and use telecommunication devices for the deaf, contact the Text Emergency Relay Service on 106.

More information