I tested positive for COVID-19 - first steps
As COVID-19 continues to spread across the Northern Territory, it’s likely that you may become infected with COVID-19.
COVID-19 positive checklist
- Step 1. Declare your positive Rapid Antigen Test result and register for COVID CareNT using the online registration form/ receive your positive PCR test result via text message
- Step 2. Isolate for at least seven days
- Step 3. Tell your close contacts you have tested positive for COVID-19
- Step 4. Follow public health measures for seven days after your isolation period: Wear a mask, apply social distancing, do not enter high risk facilities.
Positive result on a Rapid Antigen Test
If your Rapid Antigen Test is positive, you need to declare your positive result and register for COVID CareNT using the online registration form.
You should complete the online registration form before 8pm on the day you test positive. This is a legal requirement.
You can call the COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 490 484 if you live in a remote area or need assistance with translations or online registration.
You only need to have a COVID-19 PCR test if clinically required or requested by an authorised officer.
If you are required to have a COVID-19 PCR test, you will receive your result via an automated text message.
Telling your close contacts
You need to tell your household and close contacts that you have tested positive.
Testing positive to COVID-19 means that you may have spread COVID-19 to others. You may have been infectious from two days before you developed symptoms, or two days before you tested positive if you did not have symptoms.
You need to tell your household and close contacts that you spent time with that you have tested positive.
A person is considered a close contact if:
- You reside in the same household /premises as a COVID-19 positive person
- You have spent four or more continuous hours indoors with a COVID-19 positive
Example - How to tell your close contacts
I have recently received a positive COVID-19 test result. My infectious period was from XX to XX (two days before you developed symptoms, or two days before you tested positive if you did not have symptoms). As we were together for more than 4 hours during this time, you are classed as a close contact.
Due to this, you will need to isolate and organise to get a COVID-19 test. There is information on the NT COVID-19 website on what to do or you can call the COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 490 484.
Isolation after testing positive to COVID-19
Your isolation period starts on the day you had your COVID-19 test and returned a positive result. This is day 0 of your isolation period.
If you took your COVID-19 test at 2pm on 12 Jan 2022, this is day 0. Your day 7 is 19 January 2022 and your day 10 is 22 January 2022. You can exit at noon on the day your isolation period ends.
If you receive a positive COVID-19 test result, you must immediately isolate for at least seven days.
- If you have no symptoms you can leave isolation at 12 noon on day 7.
- If you have symptoms on day 7, you must remain in isolation until your symptoms resolve or you receive a medical certificate from your doctor stating that you are no longer infectious.
Once a COVID-positive person has completed the required isolation period, you will not be considered a close contact if another member of the household becomes COVID positive for the next 12 weeks.
You are required to isolate at home or a suitable place for at least seven days. This means you must stay home and can only leave for the following reasons:
- in case of an emergency
- to access essential medical care
- to escape family violence
- to drop off and pick up children at day care, pre-school and school, as well as for any other educational, recreational or health related purposes
- to transport children between households in order to facilitate shared parenting arrangements
- to leave the Territory.
If you leave isolation for any of the above listed reasons, you must wear a face mask and take all reasonable measures to stay 1.5 metres away from other people.
You may go outside into your private backyard, courtyard or balcony as long as there is no one else who is not in isolation with you there.
Visitors cannot come to your home while you are isolating, with the exception of healthcare or disability professionals providing an essential service – you should tell them that you have tested positive for COVID-19 so they can take appropriate precautions.
You can ask friends or family members who are not isolating with you to get food and medication for you. Make sure they leave it at your door. You cannot have contact with anyone delivering any supplies.
You can arrange a food delivery service. Have all food left outside your house. Do not let any delivery person into your home or accommodation.
If there is no other way to obtain food for your household, one member of your family who feels well and is not COVID-19 positive, can leave the house to get essential food items for the household. This person can leave for a maximum of one hour, once per day to obtain the food. They must wear a mask and maintain 1.5 metres from other people at all times.
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.
You also need to stay away from other people in your household.
- Stay and sleep in a separate bedroom
- Use a separate bathroom if available, or clean a shared bathroom after each use
- Do not spend time in the same room as other people in your house
- Do not share household items including dishes, cups, towels, and bedding
- Avoid common areas of the household – if unavoidable, wear a mask when in common areas and clean the area with detergent and disinfectant after use
You are not required to have a COVID-19 test to exit isolation. COVID-19 testing is not recommended for 12 weeks after you exit isolation. This is because COVID-19 testing may continue to give a positive result as your body sheds the virus, even though you are no longer infectious.
For seven days after you exit isolation you must not enter a high risk facility unless:
- you reside in the high risk facility
- you work at the high risk facility
- you require entry to the high risk facility to access a service.
Returning to work
You can return to work after you have completed the required isolation period and no longer have symptoms.
Employers and managers do not need to request medical clearances from employees who have completed their isolation period.
Reinfection after having COVID
For 12 weeks after you have exited isolation, you are not required to get tested or undertake isolation if you are a close contact. Following this, you will be required to comply with all testing and isolation requirements.
COVID-19 testing is not recommended for 12 weeks after you exit isolation. This is because COVID-19 testing may continue to give a positive result as your body sheds the virus, even though you are no longer infectious.
Managing your COVID-19
After you have tested positive for COVID-19 you are required to register for COVID CareNT.
The information collected through your registration is used to inform health professionals about the level of care you require and if this can be undertaken safely at home with follow-up contact from NT Health.
Those people who cannot complete the form or those people living in remote communities are contacted by NT Health with a phone call.
Most people with COVID-19 will have a mild illness and can safely manage COVID-19 at home.
Some people may not have any symptoms at all and most people recover in a couple of days.
Most symptoms can be managed with:
- bed rest
- regular paracetamol and ibuprofen to relieve pain and fevers
- throat lozenges for a sore throat
- staying hydrated with regular water intake.
Continue to take any medications you have been prescribed as usual. If you are unsure about continuing to take your current medication or treatment, or have any concerns about your health, call your doctor. You can also contact Health Direct on 1800 022 222 for health advice 24 hours a day.
If you develop severe symptoms (particularly severe headache or dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pressure or pain) call Triple Zero (000) and tell the ambulance staff that you are COVID-19 positive.
For more information on managing your COVID visit: COVID CareNT page
Save Triple Zero (000) for emergencies.
If you have any concerns call your doctor or contact Health Direct on 1800 022 222 for health advice 24 hours a day.
Most people can safely manage COVID-19 at home.
Call Triple Zero (000) immediately and ask for an AMBULANCE if you or the patient are experiencing any of the following:
- central or crushing chest pain lasting more than 10 minutes
- unconsciousness or a seizure (fit)
- severe difficulty breathing
- severe bleeding or inability to control bleeding with pressure
- sudden inability to move or speak, or sudden facial drooping
- the effects of a severe accident.
By saving calls to Triple Zero (000) for medical emergencies only, we will be able to get the right help to the right people at the right time.