I have been tested for COVID-19. Do I need to isolate at home while waiting for my test result?
- If you are considered to have higher risk of COVID-19 exposure, then you need to stay isolated at home until you get your test result. You are considered to have higher risk of COVID-19 exposure if, in the 14 days before your symptoms started, you have:
- Travelled overseas or interstate (please note that this does not include people who live in NSW close to the ACT and regularly come to the ACT for work or leisure), OR
- Had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, OR
- Worked in a healthcare setting, aged care facility or other residential care facility with direct patient contact.
- If you meet at least one of these criteria, then you need to isolate at home until you get your test result. This means that you cannot leave your house (unless you need medical attention). You cannot go to school, work or public places and you should not have visitors at your home. You can go outside into your backyard or onto a private balcony, if you have one.
- If you are not considered to have higher risk of COVID-19 exposure (meaning you do not meet any of the criteria listed above), then you need to stay at home until your symptoms resolve. If your symptoms resolve before you get your test result, you do not need to stay at home. However, you should not visit any high-risk settings (such as hospitals or aged care facilities) until you receive your COVID-19 test result.
- However, if you were already in quarantine prior to getting tested (e.g. due to recent overseas travel or close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case), you must still complete your full quarantine period as advised by ACT Health, even if your test result is negative. You should continue to monitor yourself for symptoms. If you develop new or worsening symptoms, you may need to be tested again.
How long will it take to get my test result?
This depends on where you had your test done. Generally, you will receive your test result within 1-4 days.
If you have not received your test result within 72 hours, you should contact the service where you were tested (e.g. GP or clinic). If you were tested at one of the ACT Respiratory Assessment Clinics (Weston Creek Walk-in Centre or EPIC drive-through testing centre), you can call (02) 5124 5574 to enquire about your test result. This line is available between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
What precautions should I take at home?
- If you were already in quarantine (e.g. because you recently returned from overseas or have had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case) then you should continue to follow all advice given to you by ACT Health for your quarantine period.
- While you are unwell, minimise contact with other people in your home as much as you can.
- Wash your hands regularly:
- Use liquid soap and water and wash for at least 20-30 seconds.
- If your hands are not visibly soiled, you can clean your hands using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow, or into a tissue, then throw the tissue into the bin and wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands.
- Avoid sharing drinking glasses, cutlery, dishes and other utensils with other people in your home.
- Regularly clean frequently touched surfaces (e.g. door handles, kitchen and bathroom areas), using a detergent-based cleaner such as Spray N WipeTM.
Do other household members need to be isolated?
While you are awaiting your COVID-19 test result, the people you live with generally will not need to be isolated, as long as they are well and are not already required to be in quarantine (e.g. due to recent overseas travel or close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case).
If you live with a healthcare worker or aged care worker who has direct patient contact, or are otherwise concerned about someone you live with, please contact the COVID-19 Helpline on (02) 6207 7244 for advice. This service is available between 8am and 8pm daily.
What if my symptoms get worse?
If you get new symptoms or your symptoms get worse while you are waiting for your test result, and you are concerned about your health:
- Call your GP and ask for a telehealth consultation. Do not visit your GP without calling first.
- If you do not have a regular GP or cannot get an appointment, you can call one of the GP-led respiratory clinics in the ACT to make an appointment:
- Lakeview Respiratory Clinic, 1/216 Cowlishaw St, Greenway. Phone 6185 1986. Open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
- YourGP@Crace Respiratory Clinic, 1/5 Barrata St, Crace. Phone 6109 0000. Open 1pm to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
- Winnunga Nimmityjah Respiratory Clinic, 63 Boolimba Crescent, Narrabundah. Phone 6284 6222. Open 9am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday, for First Nations people and existing Winnunga clients only.
If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call triple zero (000) or visit your nearest hospital Emergency Department. Make sure to tell the triple zero operator or hospital staff that you have been tested for COVID-19.
If you need to travel for medical care while you are waiting for your test result, you should use a private mode of transport, such as a private car, whenever possible. If using public transport, rideshare or taxi is your only option, you should wear a mask, avoid direct contact with other people (including other passengers, drivers and transport staff), cough/sneeze into your elbow, and wash your hands before and after you travel.
How do I shop for food or get medication if I need to stay at home?
You may need more groceries while you are awaiting your test result. If the people you live with are unable to get groceries, or if you live alone, friends or family living outside of your household can deliver groceries to your home. They should leave the groceries at your door.
Some grocery stores offer home delivery if groceries are ordered online, including the main supermarket chains. Most stores offer contactless delivery. If you need to sign for your groceries and there is no one in the house who can do this for you, you should wear a mask and wash your hands before you open the door.
If you run out of your regular medications, you can arrange for your medications to be delivered to your home, by a family member, friend or your usual pharmacy, who can leave the medications at your front door.
Where can I get more information or support?
If you have more questions or need help while being quarantined at home, you can:
- Contact the ACT COVID-19 Helpline on (02) 6207 7244 between 8am and 8pm daily.
- Contact the National COVID-19 Helpline on 1800 020 080. This line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.