I'm COVID-19 positive: What do I do now?

If you or someone in your household have tested positive for COVID-19, this page provides a brief summary of some key things you need to know. It also includes steps you can take to look after yourself and your whānau. Click on the green words in the paragraphs to read more.

Check if you need medicine to treat COVID-19

There are free medicines available for people who are most at risk of severe illness with COVID-19. You need to start these within the first 5 days of developing COVID-19 symptoms.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have other health issues or long-term conditions, talk to your GP, community pharmacy, or health care provider as soon as possible. They will advise if COVID-19 medicines are suitable for you. Read more about antiviral medicines for COVID-19 infection.

1.   Stay at home and isolate from as many people as possible

You are very infectious and to keep other people safe, you must stay at home and self-isolate for at least 7 days. There are different rules for household contacts. After day 7 you can go out as long as you are well again. Isolating means having no visitors, not going to the supermarket and staying in your house (or garden). If you can stay away from other people in your whare/home, do so. It will help to stop the spread of COVID-19 to your whānau. Read more about how to isolate at home or watch the video below.

(Health Navigator NZ, in partnership with Northland DHB & Ministry of Health, 2022)

2.   Ask for any help you might need while you are isolating at home

This includes:

  • Getting somebody to help with stocking up on food, medicines and other household supplies.
  • You may be able to order supplies from your supermarket and ask a friend to collect them and deliver them to your gate.
  • Your pharmacy may be able to arrange for medicines to be delivered, or you can ask a friend to pick them up for you.
  • Read more about the supplies you might need to have in the house.
  • If you, or anybody isolating with you, is receiving help for personal care or disability support let any care givers know so that they can make a different plan for how to help now that you have COVID-19 in your household. 
  • If you have a child at school or day care, who needs to stay at home, talk to their teacher. They may be able to provide online learning or provide resources for your children.  

The Ministry of Health has set up a COVID-19 health hub with information and resources you can access online.

If you need welfare support you can call the COVID-19 welfare line 0800 512 337. They can help you with the following:

  • Food and essential items.
  • Mobile data so you can keep in touch with whānau and friends.
  • Support for personal care and tasks.
  • Support to talk to your employer about leave or pay.
  • Mental health support.
  • Support with family or sexual violence.

There is information in other languages available on the Unite Against COVID-19 site: Information in other languages. 

3. Manage your symptoms

If your symptoms are mild you will be able to manage them at home. Read more about how to manage your symptoms. It is a good idea to keep a symptom diary so that you can tell if they are getting worse. If your symptoms are more severe you may have more contact from a doctor or nurse, who may give you a pulse oximeter to keep track of your oxygen levels and heart rate. 

(Health Navigator NZ, in partnership with Northland DHB & Ministry of Health, 2022)

4.   Know when to get medical help

It is really important that you know when to get medical help.

Call 111 if you:

  • have severe trouble breathing or severe chest pain
  • are very confused or not thinking clearly
  • feel faint or pass out.

Contact your doctor or nurse if:

  • you have new or more trouble breathing
  • your symptoms are getting worse
  • you start getting better then get worse
  • you have symptoms of dehydration – a very dry mouth, passing little urine (pee) or feeling very light-headed.

If your symptoms are very mild:

  • it's important to stay hydrated – drink plenty of fluids
  • keep monitoring/recording your symptoms so you notice any changes
  • avoid vigorous exercise until you have recovered.

Read more about when to get medical advice or watch the video below.

(Health Navigator NZ, in partnership with Northland DHB & Ministry of Health, 2022)

5.  Look after yourself

Having COVID-19 is very stressful, even if you only have mild symptoms. Be kind to yourself and your family/whānau, and ask for help if you, or someone else, isn't coping.

Try to keep some routines in place, move about and get plenty of fresh air. Stay in touch with friends and whānau by phone or internet.

You can call the COVID-19 Healthline 0800 358 5453 for health advice or free call or text 1737 if you need to talk to somebody. Read more about looking after your mental wellbeing.

Learn more

COVID-19 health hub Ministry of Health, NZ
COVID care information and advice in many different languages Unite Against COVID, NZ


COVID-19 positive advice Ministry of Health, NZ, 2022

Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team.