Tested positive for COVID-19?
What to do to take care of yourself and others
Now that the winter holidays have ended and variants are spreading quickly, more people are testing positive for COVID-19 every day. And no one likes getting sick. Luckily, many people — especially those who are vaccinated — can recover at home.
First things first: If you have symptoms of COVID-19, get tested as soon as possible. You should also get tested if you’ve been in close contact with someone who may have COVID-19. In this case, get tested five days after your last contact with them, even if you don’t have symptoms. Visit our Testing Locator page to find testing sites near you, or consider buying an at-home test.
Test came back positive? You may be wondering what to do next. How should you care for yourself while you’re sick? How can you prevent spreading the virus to others? If you did test positive for COVID-19, the good news is there are steps you can take to help keep yourself and others safe.
What to do if you test positive:
◻️ Stay home and away from others. Follow the latest isolation guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). If you need support while you’re isolating, you may be able to get help from Care Connect Washington.
- Separate yourself from others in your home. If you can, stay in a different room away from the people you live with and use a separate bathroom.
◻️ Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth if you need to be around others, even at home. Other people in your household should wear masks, too.
- If possible, use a KN95 or a 3-ply surgical mask.
- Make sure your mask fits well, with no gaps. To improve the fit, knot the ear loops where they join the face. You can also double mask to prevent gaps. Watch a short video about how to adjust masks to fit better.
◻️ Notify others to stop the spread. Reach out to your close contacts and let them know they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Someone who is infected can spread COVID-19 even before they have symptoms. When you notify your close contacts, they can get tested and quarantine or isolate if needed to avoid spreading the virus to others.
- If you used an at-home test, report your positive result to Washington’s COVID-19 hotline at 1–800–525–0127. This supports contact tracing efforts and prevents the disease from further spreading in our communities. The phone line is open Monday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Tuesday to Sunday (and observed holidays) from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Language assistance is available.
- Activate WA Notify on your smartphone to anonymously let others know they’ve been exposed. If you used an at-home test, request a verification code to alert other WA Notify users who may have been exposed.
◻️ Contact your health care provider — if you have one — or local health clinic for medical advice. They can give you some tips for how to stay comfortable as you recover. They’ll also tell you about symptoms of severe illness to watch for, so you get can get additional care if you need it.
◻️ Watch your symptoms. If your symptoms get worse, or you have new symptoms that you’re worried about, contact your health care provider. Call 9–1–1 if you notice the following COVID-19 emergency warning signs:
- Trouble breathing
- Constant chest pain or pressure
- Sudden confusion
- Inability to respond
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
◻️ Air out your space as much as you can. If possible, open windows, run the fan on your thermostat on high, change your HVAC filter, or use a HEPA air purifier.
Even if you have recovered from COVID-19 and can end your isolation period, it important to continue to protect yourself and others. You can do this by getting your COVID-19 vaccine and booster, wearing your mask in public, avoiding large gatherings, washing your hands, and enabling WA Notify on your smartphone.
This blog is accurate as of the date of posting. Information changes rapidly, so check the state’s COVID-19 website for the most up-to-date info at coronavirus.wa.gov. You can also sign up to be notified whenever we post new articles.
The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to everyone 5 and older. For more information about the vaccine, visit CovidVaccineWA.org and use the vaccine locator tool to find an appointment. The COVID-19 vaccine is provided at no cost to you.
WA Notify can alert you if you’ve been near another user who tested positive for COVID-19. Add WA Notify to your phone today: WANotify.org
Answers to your questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Washington State may be found at our website. You can also contact the Department of Health call center at 1–800–525–0127 and press # from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday — Sunday and observed state holidays. Language assistance is available.