If you 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 Washington State Department of Health:
- What to do if you test positive for COVID-19 (PDF)
- What to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19 (PDF)
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
- If you used an at-home test, request a verification code through WA Notify to anonymously alert other WA Notify users who may have been exposed.
If you have a health care provider or local health clinic, contact them 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.
If you do not have a health care provider, or cannot get an appointment with your provider, telehealth is a free and easy way to see if COVID-19 oral antivirals such as Paxlovid* are right for you. Oral antivirals, which are COVID-19 treatment pills taken by mouth, are available by prescription only. They must be taken within the first five days of experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and testing positive for COVID-19.
More information, including how to schedule an appointment, is on the Free Telehealth for COVID-19 Treatment page. COVID-19 therapeutics fact sheets and guidance are also available.
Even if you have recovered from COVID-19 and can end your isolation period, it is important to continue to protect yourself and others. You can do this by getting your COVID-19 vaccine and booster, wearing a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public, avoiding large gatherings, washing your hands, and enabling WA Notify on your smartphone.