So you have tested positive for COVID-19 - what now?
March 12, 2022
So, you have tested positive for COVID, what now?
Updated on 12th March.
Here we have pooled lots of useful resources to help you through this difficult time. The first one from Health Navigator is a useful series of videos and resources.
Please report self-administered RAT test results, both positive and negative. Do this online through My COVID Record or phone 0800222478. Without this we will not be able to get assistance for you should you need it.
If you test positive and report your RAT result you will be sent a text and asked to complete a questionnaire. This information will determine if you are likely to self manage your COVID infection or if you need phone monitoring and support. In mid-February Medplus took over the role of supporting our more high risk patients by phone.
Do not panic! Most of you will be able to manage nicely at home without medical support. This is important to remember. Our health systems will become very busy, so let us ensure that those that need help can access it, and if you can manage with online advice then please do. You do not need to inform us that you have COVID.
The majority of patients, about 90%, will be able to self-manage their illness in the community. If you are self-managing, as long as you are doing all the right things, like self-isolating, you do not necessarily need medical help or advice unless you begin to become unwell. You will be risk assessed to determine how often you will get support phone calls and follow-up from the telehealth team. General practice has been told that we will not be seeing COVID-positive patients in the community - it will only be via telehealth or hospital-level care. Those needing more intensive monitoring will be given regular phone calls and potentially provided with a pulse oximeter to monitor their heart rate and oxygen saturations. In the event of a deteriorating illness, a transfer to the hospital will be arranged. ALWAYS SEEK HELP IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR CONDITION IS CONCERNING OR DETERIORATING.
For information about hospital-level care click below, but remember it is very unlikely to be necessary if you are fully vaccinated and boosted.
It is really important to monitor your symptoms and compare them from day to day, even if you only have mild symptoms. Download a symptom diary below.
You may experience very mild or no symptoms.
- It is important to stay hydrated – drink plenty of fluids.
- Keep monitoring your symptoms so you notice any changes.
- It is important to avoid running, strenuous exercise and high impact activities.
Call your healthcare team if:
- you have new or worse trouble breathing
- your symptoms are getting worse
- you start getting better and then get worse
- you have symptoms of severe dehydration such as:
- having a very dry mouth
- passing only a little urine (pee)
- feeling very light-headed.
Call 111 if you:
- have severe trouble breathing or severe chest pain
- are very confused or not thinking clearly
- feel faint or pass out (lose consciousness).
What to expect on Days 1–3
Early symptoms of COVID-19 vary widely.
- It can start with a tickle in your throat, a cough, fever or headache. You may also feel short of breath or a little pressure in your chest.
- Sometimes it begins with a bout of diarrhoea.
- You may feel tired and/or may lose your sense of taste and smell.
- You may experience some or none of these symptoms.
Even if you have a mild COVID-19 infection, avoid running, workouts, weights and high impact activities until you've been cleared by your healthcare team.
What to expect Days 4–6
These are important days to be more aware of your symptoms. This is when lung (respiratory) symptoms may start to get worse, especially for older people and people who have other conditions like high blood pressure, obesity or diabetes. Some people will not go on to get any other symptoms.
- You may start to feel worse and may have aches, chills, cough and an inability to get comfortable.
- Some younger people may develop rashes, including itchy red patches, swelling or blistering on toes or fingers.
- If you start to feel worse, contact your healthcare team.
What to expect Days 7–8
- For people with mild illness, the worst is generally over after a week.
- Some people may get worse at this point, or start to feel better briefly then take a turn for the worse.
- If you start to feel worse, contact your healthcare team.
What to expect Days 8–12 (week 2)
Continue to monitor your symptoms
You may feel better sleeping on your front/stomach or side
If you start to feel worse, contact your healthcare team.
What to expect Days 13–14
- Most people will feel better by now. Some people feel more tired than usual.
- A slow return to activity is advised.
- If you have ongoing severe symptoms, your healthcare team will advise you what to do.
How to manage your symptoms
There is no specific treatment for COVID-19. It is important to rest at home and drink plenty of fluids.
Treatment is aimed at easing your symptoms. Your healthcare team may suggest the following medicines to ease your symptoms.
- Aches and pains: Paracetamol or ibuprofen to help with fever, headaches and body aches. Remember ibuprofen can not be taken by everyone so consult your health professional or pharmacist.
- Blocked or runny nose, or cough: Nasal sprays, decongestants, lozenges or cough mixtures.
- Sore throat: Suck a teaspoon of honey or gargle with salt water. You can also try using a gargle, throat spray or pain-relief (anaesthetic) lozenges.
- Vomiting and diarrhoea : The most important thing is to drink plenty of fluids, to avoid dehydration. Oral electrolyte solutions may help you with this.
Ways to help your breathing
COVID-19 research from other countries has shown that changing your body position when resting can be helpful to ease your breathing. This increases the flow of oxygen to your lungs and improves your comfort. Rather than lying only on your back, try resting on your stomach and on your side. Change position every 30 minutes to 2 hours, rotating from laying on your front, left side, sitting up, right side and then back to laying on your front.
Sitting upright in a chair is also useful and may be more comfortable after drinking or eating.
When you have COVID-19, the physical symptoms of the illness may be obvious and are important to monitor but taking care of your mental health and wellbeing is also important. Remember you can talk to our Health Improvement Practitioner or our Health Coach for free if you need help with your mood.
Even if you had a mild COVID-19 infection, avoid running, strenuous exercise and high impact activities until you've been cleared by your healthcare team. Healthcare professionals advise a slow, gradual return to activity. People with severe symptoms and people who needed extra treatment due to low oxygen levels may still feel unwell and tired. It may take some time to recover.
Everyone will have a different experience in their recovery from COVID-19. Some people may recover in days, some in weeks. For others, it could be months. But although each case is unique, people recovering from more severe symptoms are likely to face a longer recovery period.
- You will need to quarantine for at least 7 days, counting starts at day 0 on the day you first noticed symptoms, or from the day you were tested if you have no symptoms. This is your 'Isolation Period'.
- You should not walk off your property while you are isolating at home. This includes taking your pet for a walk.
- If your outside space is shared with other households, for example you live in an apartment, you will not be able to go outside.
- If you have pets, see if a family member or friend is able to look after them. They will have to collect your pet in a contactless way.
- You can leave home quarantine after your Isolation Period ends. If you have already tested positive for COVID-19 you won't need to get tested again before leaving home quarantine when the Isolation Period is over. You will no longer be infectious after this time.
- Because they are close contacts, your household members will have to remain at home for the same 7 days as you. They need a RAT test on day 3 and day 7. They can finish isolating after this if they don't have any symptoms and if they test negative on day 7.
- They may be given an exemption to return to work sooner if they are a critical worker, are well and meet certain criteria.
- Once you recover, you and your household should continue to watch for symptoms, and get medical help if you or they feel unwell again, or if symptoms do not go away
MEDICAL CARE, PRESCRIPTIONS AND WELFARE SUPPORT
If you need your normal medications Medplus can supply a prescription and your community pharmacy will deliver them to you. Medplus Pharmacy will do this for free.
We have several clinicians making COVID calls to our patients every day. If you need to be put on their list just call reception.
Please book a phone or video consultation if you have other issues.
Hopefully your family and friends will drop off groceries and supplies to you whilst you self-isolate. You can also arrange contactless delivery of essentials. You can not use click and collect facilities.
If you need practical support, you can call the COVID-19 Welfare phone line on 0800 512 337, 7 days a week. If you cannot manage with help from friends and family, the COVID-19 Welfare phone line can help you with:
- getting access to food and essential items
- mobile data so you can keep in contact with friends and whānau
- getting support for personal care or daily tasks
- talking to your employer if you are worried about your leave or pay
- getting mental health support, or support with family or sexual violence.