What to do if you test positive on an at-home COVID-19 Test

July 5, 2022

As COVID-19 cases are rising throughout Arizona, with an average of 2,300 cases per day, it’s essential to know who to contact and what next steps are necessary if you test positive on an at-home COVID-19 test. 


Who to contact?

  • Local health department 

After testing positive, contact your local health department to notify them of your test result; this allows them to have correct, up-to-date information and help with contact tracing while ensuring that needed resources, including antiviral treatments, will be available. 

  • Any persons you have interacted with within the 72 hours before illness onset or your positive test. 

Although the health department participates in contact tracing, you can help limit the spread of COVID-19 by reaching out to individuals you have had contact with within 72 hours since symptom onset or testing positive (if asymptomatic) through a quick phone call, text, or preferred method of non-physical contact. 


Next steps & personal care

  • Stay home for five days

After testing positive for COVID-19, you will be most infectious during the first five daysand, therefore, should isolate during this period.. Staying home, or somewhere you can isolate, for five days is essential to protect those around you. If unable to quarantine alone, you should wear a mask in communal areas to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2. After five days in isolation, re-test for COVID-19 and continue isolating until you test negative; after testing negative, you can leave isolation but will need to continue wearing a mask for the following five days. 

  •  Take care of yourself.

As your body is fighting off COVID-19, make sure to take care of yourself by staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, persistent pain in the chest, or new confusion, call 911 to receive medical help.  

  • Ask your healthcare provider (if you have one) whether you are eligible for antiviral medication to help treat COVID-19. In higher-risk individuals (e.g., older adults, and those at risk for more severe COVID-19), this medication can decrease symptoms and lower the risk of serious illness if taken in the few days following a positive test. 
  • You may also want to purchase a pulse-oximeter to monitor your oxygen levels. If they are below 90% you should seek medical attention. 
  • Sleeping prone (on your stomach) can help get oxygen into your lungs. 

It is a good idea to test yourself again five days after the initial positive test. Remember that eight free at-home COVID-19 tests are available, with no insurance needed, and will ship directly to you. In the event that the second test is positive, continue to isolate until you receive a negative test.