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What happens if you test positive for COVID-19? 

What to expect if you test positive for COVID-19. This includes getting your results, contact tracing, what you need to do, and support you will get. 

Getting your results 

Testing positive is nothing to be embarrassed about — it can happen to anyone. COVID-19 doesn’t care who it infects.  

If you test positive, you must self-isolate at home or in alternative accommodation, unless a care co-ordinator tells you otherwise. You must also have your phone with you and answer calls.  

If you return a positive PCR test 

If you return a positive PCR test you will be notified of your result by text from the official 2328 number. It will include a link to an online form you need to fill out. This form takes 10-20 minutes to complete and asks for health information, your household contacts and any high-risk locations you might have been to.  

If you return a positive rapid antigen test 

If you return a positive rapid antigen test (RAT), record your result in My Covid Record. If you need help call 0800 222 478. If you are receiving a supervised RAT at a community testing centre or other health provider, staff will enter the result into the Ministry of Health’s confidential database and My Covid Record.  

You will also be sent a text from the official 2328 number that will include a link to the online form for health and contact tracing information. 

Positive RAT results do not need to be confirmed with a PCR test unless advised.  

Test instructions vary depending on the brand and it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  

More information and guidance on how to take a RAT is available on the Ministry of Health website 

How to use a rapid antigen test 

Self-isolation 

Everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 needs to self-isolate. Your isolation time starts from the day that your symptoms started, or the day that you get a positive test result if you do not have any symptoms. Everyone else in your household will need to isolate at home too. 

Alternative accommodation may be available if you can’t safely stay where you are.  You can flag this through the online form you will need to fill out.   

After the isolation period, provided you are free of COVID-19 symptoms, you can leave isolation. You don’t need to be tested. The others in your household will need to return negative tests on the relevant days before they can leave isolation. 

Care while you’re in self-isolation 

If you need health advice look at the online resources first. 

If your symptoms get worse or you need urgent medical care, call your local healthcare provider or Healthline on 0800 358 5453.  

If you or the person you are caring for develops difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, fainting or becomes unconscious, call 111 immediately. 

Contacts for health support may differ across the country. Your point of contact may be an individual or a team from your general practice, primary care provider or from a local community health service. 

If you need medication, contact your doctor or your local community pharmacy who can get it safely delivered to your home. 

What your household needs to do 

The people you live with are Household Contacts. Whether they are fully vaccinated or not, they need to: 

  • stay home and isolate from others from the day you get your positive test result or from when your symptoms started, which ever came first.  
  • get tested for COVID-19 over their isolation period. 
  • get tested if they develop symptoms. If they test positive, they need to restart their own self-isolation period.  

If a Household Contact’s tests are negative and they have no symptoms, they can complete isolation at the same time as you. 

Contact tracing 

If you test positive for COVID-19 you will need to complete an online form for contact tracing and health information.  

If you have a valid mobile phone number, you will get a text message with a link and access code to complete this form. 

If you don’t have a mobile phone, or if you need help with filling out the form, you can phone 0800 555 728.  

The COVID-19 contact tracing form lets you securely share: 

  • any symptoms you may have 
  • details of your household contacts 
  • details of any high-risk locations you may have been at 
  • other health information that will help ensure you get extra health support if you need it.  

It also links to a request for welfare assistance with the Ministry of Social Development, and for alternative accommodation if it’s unsafe for you to stay where you are. 

Through this form, you can share your NZ Covid Tracer diary and Bluetooth data. 

Completing the form is quicker than doing it over the phone — it only takes about 20 minutes. Once you have the text message, you can start anytime within 72 hours. If you do not submit the form within 72 hours, someone may call and complete the case interview over the phone. 

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