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COVID-19 positive: Now what?


What to do after you get tested for COVID graphic
Taking a COVID test is just the first step.

[Editor's note: This story was accurate at the time of posting. Some processes may have been updated since then, in regards to contact tracing. Please review this recent information bulletin.]

Have you had a COVID-19 test recently?

Your results may be coming to you faster than you think. There are now many options for how you receive test results.

With the BCCDC’s (BC Centre for Disease Control) new option to get results by text message or SMS, there is a good chance that you will read your COVID-19 test results off your phone. If your results are positive, it is likely that the text you receive will come before being contacted by your health authority’s Public Health team. Don’t worry! This is normal, and someone from Public Health will be connecting with you in the next 48-72 hours to give you further instruction, and begin the contact tracing process.

Here is what you should do after receiving your test results:

  • Positive test result: If you receive a message with a COVID-19 positive test result, you and everyone in your household should self-isolate now. Public Health will be in contact with you in approximately 2 to 3 days with further instructions.
  • Negative test result: If you receive a message with a COVID-19 negative test result, and your symptoms are gone, most people can stop self-isolating. You must continue to self-isolate if you are a contact of someone with COVID-19 or have recently arrived from outside of Canada.
  • No one should return to work, school, or regular activities unless they feel well enough to be there.

Self-isolating if you test positive

If you get a positive COVID-19 test result, you need to self-isolate. Please tell the people you live with that they should also self-isolate. That means:

  1. Stay home
  2. Do not go to work, school or public places
  3. Do not have visitors to your home

If you live with other people, avoid contact with them if you can. Stay and sleep in a separate room and use a separate bathroom if possible.

Find more information from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC):

People with COVID-19 will need to self-isolate for at least 10 days. Public Health will tell you when you can end isolation.

Public Health connecting with you

Someone from Public Health will contact you in approximately 2 to 3 days. Please answer the phone. They will give you more information on what to do, monitoring your health, and further direction about contact tracing and the notification process.

Unless you are a health care worker, you do not need to tell people outside your household that you tested positive for COVID-19 if you do not want to. You can begin to think about who you spent time with and where you've been in the week before you started feeling ill. Write down a list with as much detail as possible to share with Public Health when they call.

Be kind, be calm, be safe

We understand that this process may leave some individuals feeling uneasy or frustrated. Please know that if you receive a positive test, Public Health will reach you as soon as they can. We are all doing the best we can during this challenging time, and we appreciate your patience and resilience. Please adhere to the Province’s guidelines and restrictions - we need your participation now more than ever.

We are going to get through this, together!