What to do if you test positive for COVID-19> Washington State Department of Health
For immediate release: December 30, 2021 (21-264)
Contact: DOH Communications
What to do if you test positive for COVID-19
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is offering a detailed reminder of what people should do if they test positive for COVID-19. Cases are increasing sharply, driven by the omicron variant, which is said to be more contagious than previous variants, including delta. Tracking cases and preventing the spread of the disease starts with testing; anyone with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or known exposures should get tested, regardless of their vaccination status or previous infection.
What to do if you test positive:
- Follow the latest CDC and DOH guidelines and isolate yourself at home, far from others
- People who test positive should self-isolate.
- All close contacts should be quarantined.
- Wear a mask indoors and have others in your home do the same (preferably a KN95, KF-94, or 3-ply surgical mask, if possible).
- Air your space as much as you can.
- Set your heating system fan to “on” or “high” instead of “auto”.
- If your home has an HVAC system, make sure it has a new filter and change it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Open windows briefly to let in fresh air, if possible.
- Use WA Notify to report your positive home test, if applicable.
- Reach out to your close contacts and let them know that they have been exposed and should quarantine themselves.
- Stay hydrated, use over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen to stay comfortable and manage symptoms.
- See a doctor if you have the following symptoms:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- Confusion, inability to wake up or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue skin, lips, or nail beds (or an unusually low reading on a pulse oximeter, if you have one).
With New Years celebrations on the horizon, people should consider avoiding large crowds, and anyone who tests positive should stay home. Those looking for where to get tested should visit the Testing Locator page on the DOH website. The locations are listed by region. People should also consider activating WA Notify on their smartphones, which anonymously sends alerts to people who have been exposed.
“As cases continue to increase, people may need a reminder of what to do if they are positive,” said Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, MD, MPH, Scientific Director. “We hope this guide is helpful and reminds people of all the tools we have in our toolkit to protect ourselves, as individuals, our families and our communities.”
Vaccination remains the best defense against COVID-19, especially serious illnesses. Anyone 16 years and older is eligible for a booster, and children 5 years and older should start their two-dose series immediately.
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