Mēnā e pāngia ana koe e te KOWHEORI-19 If you have COVID-19

If you test positive for COVID-19, we recommend you isolate for at least 5 days, even if you only have mild symptoms. Find out what to do if you test positive, how to protect those around you, and what happens after your isolation period.

If you test positive for COVID-19, it is recommended you isolate for at least 5 days, even if you only have mild symptoms. This is to prevent spreading COVID-19 to other people. You would start your isolation at Day 0 — this is the day your symptoms started or when you tested positive, whichever came first.

Isolation means not leaving your house and not going to work or school. It also means staying away from others in your household as much as possible.

Face masks

If you need to go out during your recommended isolation period, it is recommended you wear a face mask. We also recommend you wear a mask when you are in close contact with others, including in your own household.

Face masks

Ways to avoid spreading COVID-19

  • Do not go to work or school.
  • Avoid public places — wear a mask if you need to go out.
  • Where possible, avoid contact with people in your household.
  • Sleep by yourself if you can and limit the time you spend in shared spaces.
  • If you cannot avoid contact in your house, try to stay at least 2 metres apart and wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth when near others.
  • Get deliveries, such as food and medicine from whānau and friends, or by ordering supplies online. Identify a safe drop-off point outside the house to leave supplies.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly. This includes things you touch often, like door handles, light switches and phones.
  • Do your own laundry.
  • Open windows to increase fresh air flow inside. The risk of spreading COVID-19 is highest in crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

Report your test result

It is still important to report your positive rapid antigen test (RAT) online or by calling the helpline. This is so you can be connected with any help and support you might need.

If you had a PCR test, your results are reported automatically. You will get a text message with your result.

Receive a text message from Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora

After you report your result, Health New Zealand send you a text message from the official 2328 or 2648 numbers to confirm your positive result.

The text also has information about antiviral medicines and support options.

Taking leave from work

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.

Leave and pay entitlements during COVID-19 — Employment New Zealand (external link)

Get COVID-19 antiviral medicines

Some people who are at a very high risk of developing serious illness, and who have tested positive, are eligible for free antivirals to treat COVID-19. You may also be eligible if you have symptoms, and have had close contact with someone who has tested positive.

Find out who is eligible and what to do.

COVID-19 medicines

Monitor and manage your symptoms

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.

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

To manage symptoms:

  • stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
  • get plenty of rest
  • avoid running, strenuous, or high impact activities and exercise until you are well
  • eat when you feel able to
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen to control fevers, body aches and headaches
  • try saline nose drops or sprays for a blocked nose
  • if you cannot stop vomiting or have bad diarrhoea, talk to your healthcare provider.
  • If you are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19

    Some people, like older people and kaumātua, and those with other health conditions, are at a higher risk of becoming seriously unwell with COVID-19 and needing hospital care.

    People at risk of severe illness from COVID-19

    If you are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, talk to your doctor or your usual healthcare provider about your medical condition and how to best manage it.

  • If you are pregnant or have recently given birth

    If you have COVID-19, your pregnancy care may be provided through telehealth while you are infectious. 

    Let your midwife or doctor know you have COVID-19. If you need any extra care depending on your risk factors, or how well you are managing any symptoms, they can help organise it for you.

    Maternity care will always be available to those who need it.

    If you are pregnant and get COVID-19, you should contact your midwife or doctor straight away if you experience any of these things:

    • your pēpi is moving less than usual or not at all, there is a change in baby’s usual pattern
    • bleeding from the vagina, or leaking fluid from the vagina
    • headache that does not go away
    • shortness of breath when resting or lying down
    • feeling like you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
    • a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees
    • feeling really tired
    • feeling very anxious or worried
    • feeling unsafe at any time.

    It is rare for babies to get COVID-19 during the pregnancy or birth. Babies who do get it mostly have mild symptoms or none at all.

  • If you are breastfeeding

    If you have COVID-19 and are breastfeeding, you can continue to breastfeed while taking precautions.

    To reduce the risk of spreading the virus while breastfeeding, you should:

    • wear a surgical face mask
    • wash your hands thoroughly before feeding
    • avoid kissing and touching your baby’s face.

    If you are too unwell to breastfeed, you can express your milk and give it to your pēpi in a bottle. Make sure you still follow the precautions above.

    There is no evidence of transmission of the virus through breast milk. Your midwife or doctor can provide further advice about breastfeeding when you have COVID-19.

  • If you need healthcare while you have COVID-19

    If you need to see a healthcare provider while you have COVID-19, phone ahead and let them know you have COVID-19. You should wear a well-fitting face mask can stop infectious particles from spreading to others.

Support while you have COVID-19

If you need help with urgent costs, or have to take unpaid leave, you may be eligible for support from Work and Income:

Mental health

It is normal to feel anxious or stressed in times of difficulty. Learn how to stay mentally healthy and where to get help if you are not coping or have concerns for others.

Mental health services and support

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

Up until 10 days after your symptoms started or you tested positive, we recommend you wear a mask if you need to:

  • visit a healthcare facility
  • visit an aged residential care facility
  • have contact with anyone at risk of getting seriously unwell with COVID-19.

This is because some people are infectious for up to 10 days.

Returning to school or work

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 ask you to take additional precautions if you still feel sick.

If someone you live with gets COVID-19

If you have had COVID-19 within the last 28 days, and someone in your household tests positive, you are not considered to be a household contact and you do not need to test.

If it has been 29 days or longer since your COVID-19 infection and someone in your household tests positive, you should test daily for 5 days.

If you test positive, we recommend you isolate for 5 days.

If you still feel unwell at the end of your isolation period

If you still feel unwell, we recommend you stay home until you have 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.

You do not need to do another RAT after testing positive. But if you are concerned that you may still be infectious after 5 days, a negative RAT is a good indication you are unlikely to be infectious.

You may still wish to wear a mask if you have contact with someone at risk of serious illness. Some facilities may still required all visitors to wear masks.

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.

After COVID-19

You should expect to recover from the first signs and symptoms of COVID-19 within 2 to 4 weeks.

After isolation, make sure you rest and eat well. Your body will need time to get back to your normal exercise levels.

You should be back to all activities you were doing before COVID-19 within 12 weeks.

Long COVID

Long COVID is the term used to describe the effects of COVID-19 that last longer than 12 weeks.

Anyone can develop long COVID, but it is more common if you had severe symptoms when you first got sick.

Find out the symptoms of long COVID and how you can manage them.

Long COVID — Unite Against COVID (external link)

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