What To Do If You Test Positive for COVID-19

If you test positive for COVID-19, there are important steps you must take to prevent spreading the virus to other people, even if you don’t feel sick.

Self-Isolation

Self-isolation is mandatory. You MUST stay home, except to get medical care. If you don’t self-isolate, even if you have no symptoms, you’re violating the law. Click here to read the full Administrative Order from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. If you have a fever or body aches, you can take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.

Notify Contacts

You should notify close contacts of your positive test result so they can take precautions and monitor for symptoms. A close contact is anyone who was recently within 6 feet of you for at least 15 minutes.

Close contacts should quarantine for 14 days. Click here for more information about quarantine.

Monitor Your Symptoms

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath, although many other symptoms are also possible.

If you develop worsening symptoms or have difficulty breathing, you should get medical care right away. Be sure to call your healthcare provider before seeking care and tell them that you have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Wear a face mask before entering the healthcare facility to protect other patients and staff from being exposed.

If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Notify emergency services that you have COVID-19 infection. Put on a face mask if possible before emergency services arrive.

While at Home

While you isolate at home, be sure to follow these steps:

  • Separate yourself from others. Keep 6 feet between yourself and other people, use a bathroom no one else uses, and don’t allow visitors into your home.
  • Wear a face covering around others and if you go to a healthcare facility.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid sharing dishes, drinking glasses and cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding.
  • Frequently clean “high touch” surfaces like doorknobs, counters, tabletops, tables, phones, and TV remotes.

How Long Must You Self-Isolate?

If you had mild or moderate illness* and are not severely immunocompromised, you must remain under home isolation until:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared,

AND

  • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications,

AND

  • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved.

If you had severe to critical illness (if you were hospitalized for shortness of breath, pneumonia, low oxygen levels, respiratory failure, septic shock, and/or multiple organ failure) * or are severely immunocompromised you must remain under home isolation until:

  • At least 20 days have passed since symptoms first appeared,

AND

  • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications,

AND

  • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved.

If you had no symptoms and you ARE NOT severely immunocompromised, you must remain under home isolation until:

  • At least 10 days have passed since the positive laboratory test and you remain asymptomatic.

If you had no symptoms and you ARE severely immunocompromised, you must remain under home isolation until:

  • At least 20 days have passed since the positive laboratory test and you remain asymptomatic.

Note: if you later develop symptoms, you should follow the guidance for symptomatic persons above.

Get More Information

The Georgia Department of Public Health has more information about self-isolation on its website at https://dph.georgia.gov/isolation-contact.

You can also share quarantine information with your close contacts from this web page: https://dph.georgia.gov/contact