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So, you’ve tested positive. Now what? Your FAQs answered by a registered Covid nurse

If you or someone close to you has contracted the virus, you might be wrestling with these headscratchers

Maxim Boon
Edited by
Maxim Boon
Written by
Lacey-Jade Christie

For almost two years now, positive cases have been a relative rarity in Australia. However, in recent weeks, as the Omicron strain has surged across the country, the number of people diagnosed with Covid has exploded. By now, it’s likely that you know someone who has tested positive or you have contracted the virus yourself. This can be a confusing and scary reality to process, and while medical assistance is widely accessible across Australia, you may have some unresolved questions about the day-to-day or recovering from Covid. 

To help you navigate this process, Time Out took to Twitter to find out the most commonly asked FAQs about Covid recovery, to get those sought-after answers from specialist Covid nurse Lacey-Jade Christie.

And it pays to be prepared: here's everything you'll need for your at-home Covid care kit.

I've tested positive but I have my booster appointment coming up. Can I still get boosted and if not, when can I?

The short answer is no, you can’t have your booster while you are positive for Covid. This is for two reasons:

  • It isn’t recommended that you receive any Covid vaccine while you are suffering from any acute illness, including Covid. 
  • Going to a vaccination hub may put the healthcare workers and other people receiving their vaccinations at risk.

You can, however, receive your booster once your isolation period is over and your symptoms have resolved. Isolation periods are different for everyone so be sure to confirm your isolation requirements on the Department of Health website. If you are experiencing acute or longer than expected symptoms, be sure to speak to your GP prior to booking or receiving your vaccine.

If you’ve already booked an appointment, be sure to call and cancel the appointment or cancel online and rebook if possible. If there are no bookings available there are multiple walk-in hubs currently operating around the country. 

I feel fine and don't have symptoms. Do I still need to isolate?

Absolutely. If you have tested positive, even with a RAT test, and you don’t have any symptoms then odds are your vaccine is doing its job. Unfortunately, if you have tested positive you still need to complete your isolation period as you may be contagious and spread Covid to others, especially those who are immunocompromised or are unable to be vaccinated.  

I've ordered food or groceries to my home. What precautions should I take to protect the delivery person?

At-home delivery of groceries, medication and take-away food is saving us all. With this in mind, we need to keep our essential workers as safe as possible. You can do this in a few ways:

  • Always opt for contactless delivery. Most food delivery services offer this option as do grocery delivery services including Woolworths and Coles. 
  • Wait until your delivery has been dropped at your door and the delivery driver has left your doorstep/hallway.
  • Wear a mask when you open the door to collect your items.

If you are expecting medication that needs to be signed for, call your pharmacy or GP and explain your current situation. They may allow someone else to accept delivery of your medication or arrange for a healthcare worker to drop your medication to you.

Delivery drivers can deliver to apartment buildings as well as houses but make sure they are wearing a mask prior to letting them enter your building.

When should I seek more medical help?

Every person will experience Covid differently depending on vaccination status and comorbidities but generally speaking, you should seek assistance if you experience any of the following:

  • Difficulty breathing when you stand up or move around
  • Chest pain or pressure in your chest
  • Collapsing or fainting
  • A fever greater than 40 degrees Celcius
  • Inability to look after yourself e.g. showering, eating etc.
  • Oxygenation saturation lover than 92% (for those with a pulse oximeter at home)

If you’re concerned and need advice you should seek medical advice via the after-hours GP helpline on 1800 022 222 and in an emergency always call 000. 

I still have symptoms after seven days. What should I do? 

According to the Department of Health’s test and isolate protocol, if you have symptoms on day six, you must continue to isolate at home until you have had no symptoms for at least 24 hours. If you are concerned or you have had symptoms for longer than ten days, call your GP. You can also call the Australian Government's National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.

I'm feeling really crook. Can (or should) I call an ambulance?

The ambulance service is there to help you when you need it, however, they are currently experiencing delays and staff shortages so please only call 000 in an emergency or if instructed to by your GP.  

Will I get better gradually or will my symptoms be up and down?

Everyone experiences Covid symptoms differently. Some people may only have symptoms for a few days, others may experience symptoms for weeks or months after testing negative. 

Some Covid symptoms may linger for longer than others, most commonly fatigue and loss of taste and smell. However, some people who recover from Covid will experience what's been dubbed ‘Long Covid’, which is a term used to describe long-term health problems associated with Covid. These can include a persistent cough, joint pain, fever, headaches and lethargy.

If you are concerned that your symptoms are lasting longer than expected or that you are suffering from long Covid, speak to your GP.

I don't have symptoms anymore but I've just had a positive RAT result. What should I do? 

Remain in isolation and contact either your GP or the National Coronavirus Hotline for more information. You need to remain in isolation as you may still be contagious, even without symptoms, it may also be a false positive so it is always best to contact your healthcare provider.

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