What to Do if You Test Positive for COVID-19

What to Do if You Test Positive for COVID-19

See video: What to do if you test positive for COVID-19
العربية (Arabic) မြန်မာစာ (Burmese) | دری (Dari)Français (French)Kirundi Maay Maay | Mandarin Chinese | नेपाली (Nepali) | پښتو (Pashto)Soomaai (Somali)Español (Spanish)Swahili Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)

What to do if you test positive for COVID-19
العربية (Arabic) | မြန်မာစာ (Burmese) | دری (Dari) | Français (French) | Kirundi | नेपाली (Nepali) | پښتو (Pashto) | Soomaali (Somali) | Español (Spanish) | Swahili | Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)

People with COVID-19 can spread the virus to others. If you test positive for COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated or never have symptoms, isolate as soon as you receive your test result. Isolation means staying home and away from other people – including the people who live with you – for at least 5 days from the date of your positive test or the start of your symptoms, whichever is earlier.


Stay home and isolate for 5 days.

  • You can leave your home after day 5 if your symptoms have improved AND you have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fevers.

If you test positive with an at-home test, report self-test results by following instructions on your test kit to automatically provide your results to your local health department or by filling out the Vermont COVID-19 Self-Test Result Reporting Form.

This guidance does not apply to health care workers.

When you test positive, you may get a call from the Health Department.  If you have questions about this guidance, or if you miss a call from the Health Department, call us at 802-863-7240.

Additional precautions

If you still have symptoms after completing isolation, you might choose to take extra precautions such as wearing a mask, which helps protect you and the people around you from getting or spreading COVID-19.

Find additional information about testing, vaccines, treatment, and masks at COVID.gov.

If you are at higher risk for COVID-19

If you are over 65 or have a high-risk medical condition and have mild to moderate symptoms, reach out to your health care provider to ask about COVID-19 therapeutics — as soon you get your positive test result. These treatments can reduce the chance of being hospitalized. If you need to see a health care provider but don’t have one, call 2-1-1 to be connected to care, or contact the nearest federally qualified health center or one of Vermont's free & referral clinics.

Notify your close contacts

If you test positive for COVID-19, it’s important to let people you recently spent time with know they may have come into contact with the virus. That way, they can look out for symptoms and get tested if needed, to protect their health and help prevent further spread.

Think about who you were with starting two days before your symptoms began or if you had no symptoms, the day you were tested. It's especially important to reach out to anyone who may be at higher risk for COVID-19. You can share this link for additional guidance: healthvermont.gov/closecontact.

What to do if you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19
العربية / Arabic | မြန်မာစာ / Burmese | Chinese - Simplified | Chinese - Traditional | Dari / دری | Français | Kirundi | नेपाली / Nepali | Pashto /پښتو | Soomaali | Español / Spanish | Swahili | Tiếng Việt / Vietnamese

How to isolate at home

Most people with mild illness can recover at home. You should get plenty of rest, drink fluids, and take fever-reducing medication if needed. 

  • Stay home, except to get medical care or if you feel unsafe at home. Wear a mask if you need to leave home.
  • Call ahead before visiting your health care provider or emergency department and tell them you are isolating because you have COVID-19.
  • As much as possible, stay in a specific room in your home and use a separate bathroom.
  • Stay at least 6 feet (or 2 meters) away from others in your home at all times.
  • Wear a mask if you’re in any room with other people or pets, unless you have trouble breathing.
  • Don’t share household items.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces, wash household items and wash hands often.
  • Monitor your blood oxygen levels. People diagnosed with COVID-19 may have below-normal levels of oxygen in their blood before they feel short of breath. Finding low oxygen levels early can help you know to seek medical care sooner. This could make the disease less severe.
  • If you are caring for someone who tested positive, find out how to care for someone sick at home (CDC).
Report your self-test results to the Health Department

You can report self-test results by following instructions on your test kit to automatically provide your results to your local health department or by filling out the Vermont COVID-19 Self-Test Result Reporting Form.

When to get medical care immediately

Get medical care immediately if you have trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or changes in color on your lips, gums, face, around the eyes, or nails. Tell your health care provider or 9-1-1 that you have COVID-19 and are isolating at home.

Requesting a pulse oximeter

You can request a pulse oximeter from the Health Department by calling 802-863-7240 or by filling out this online request form

This small device that clips onto your fingertip measures your pulse and oxygen levels and can help you know how sick you are. You can request one if you or someone you care for over the age of 2 tests positive for COVID-19. Be prepared to give your name, date of birth, physical address, contact information, what kind of test you took (PCR/LAMP or antigen), and the date the positive test was taken.