COVID-19 Positive – What to do
Last updated 1/4/2022 – Press refresh or F5 to see the latest page
Glenfield Medical Centre will remain open throughout the COVID pandemic to look after our patients, but we will NEED YOUR HELP to ensure we can continue providing care to those who need them the most. To ensure our staff and phone lines remain accessible to critically ill patients, we would like patients seeking information to use our website as much as possible, or call the COVID-19 health advice line 0800 358 5453.
I got a COVID positive result, what happens next?
Don’t panic, stop what you are doing and take a deep breath. Most Omicron cases are mild and uncomplicated, especially if you have been vaccinated.
1) Home isolation
You and all household members are now required to isolate at home. Any household members who have symptoms should get a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) immediately.
2) Phone assessment
If you haven’t done so already, please self-report your result on My COVID Record website, or call 0800 222 478 and press option 3. Public Health will then be able to notify your GP of your positive result.
Our doctors or nurses will call you to to assess your health risk, when testing should be done for household members (RAT on day 3 and day 10 of isolation), and will also help arrange assistance for food, medications or animals if necessary. Alternatively the Maori and Pacific hubs, or Whanau Home Quarantine team during afterhours, may phone you instead.
3) Self management and Phone monitoring
If our assessment found that you are high risk, we will phone you periodically to monitor you for any deteriorations, and arrange the supply of a pulse oximeter if necessary. If you are low risk, you should be able to safely manage at home. However if you are getting worse, you can call us on weekdays, the COVID healthline 0800 358 5453 during afterhours, or consider 111 if you are very unwell.
For assistance with medications, there is the COVID-19 isolation pharmacy service which provides free over-the-counter medication without prescription, with free delivery – call Glenfield 7 Day 09 444 7289, Bentley Ave 09 443 3599, Life Glenfield 09 444 6403.
For other assistance like food, phone, accommodation, animal etc, you can call the COVID-19 welfare phoneline 0800 512 337 or apply online. Also see Family Services Directory and Getting extra support if you have COVID-19 or are self-isolating | Unite against COVID-19.
4) Release from isolation
The isolation period for positive case and their household members are 7 days, starting together (day 0 is day of positive RAT or symptom onset, whichever is earlier). There is no extension of the isolation period for household members if they have a negative RAT on day 7. However household members who have a positive RAT will need to restart their 7 days of isolation from the day of their positive RATs (or onset of symptoms, whichever earlier). At the end of your day 7, if you remain symptom free or you have stable/improving symptoms, you can self release from isolation.
Once released from isolation, you are deemed non-infectious and immune from COVID for at least 1 month. You should not be tested again because you may get a false positive result (On day 10, 30% of positive cases will return a positive RAT due to remaining dead viral particles, it does not mean you are infectious). However after 1 month it is possible to catch COVID again, therefore if you have symptoms again you will need to have a RAT and isolate.
COVID healthline 0800 358 5453, if you are deteriorating
COVID-19 welfare phoneline 0800 512 337 or apply online, if you need assistance with food, phone, accommodation etc
Isolation pharmacy service – Glenfield 7 Day 09 444 7289, Bentley Ave 09 443 3599, Life Glenfield 09 444 6403
(free over-the-counter medication without prescription, free delivery)
Whanau Home Quarantine advice line 0800 687 647
For more information, see Information for people with COVID-19 | ARPHS
COVID positive – looking after yourself at home
Most people with Omicron have mild symptoms, and can usually self manage at home. Majority of people recover after a week.
You are likely to have a combination of symptoms including runny nose, sore throat, headache and fatigue. You may also experience fever, cough, lost of taste/smell or diarrhoea. At this stage you should rest as much as possible, keep hydrated and take paracetamol if required.
Most people recover within a week, but this is the important period when people can deteriorate quickly into severe COVID illness.
Call 111 if you have difficulty breathing at rest, talking in short sentences or single words, persistent non-stop coughing, coughing more than streaks of blood, cold clammy dehydrated, minimal urine output in 12 hours, confusion or fainting.
Call us on weekdays or the COVID healthline 0800 358 5453 during afterhours if you deteriorate, especially increasing shortness of breath, postural dizziness or dehydration.
You should feel better by now and can slowly return to normal activities (at home).
If you are at a higher risk of developing severe COVID illness, remember to seek advice or help earlier.
- Age over 70
- Aged care facilities residents
- Pasifika and Māori age over 40
- Serious respiratory disease, COPD, asthma,
- CPAP use for sleep apnoea
- Serious heart conditions, stroke
- Immunocompromised conditions
- Diabetes that is not well controlled
- Chronic kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Active malignancy, or having treatment
There are a number of COVID-19 treatments being used in New Zealand, but all intravenous for hospsital use. The government had announced on 31/3/2022 the criteria for an oral COVID medicine called Paxlovid, but are very restrictive so will not be available for most people with COVID. In brief, it must be given within 5 days of COVID illness in a patient who is immunocompromised, or has at least 5 risk factors for severe COVID disease, see COVID-19 oral antivirals: Access Criteria – Pharmac | New Zealand Government. Current evidence do not find any benefit with ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19.
However for the vast majority, no specific treatment is required and the management is symptomatic relief, rest and hydration. A new initiative COVID-19 isolation pharmacy service is now available, which can provide free over-the-counter medication without prescription, with free delivery. You can call our local participating pharmacies directly – Glenfield 7 Day 09 444 7289, Bentley Ave 09 443 3599, Life Glenfield 09 444 6403, of see the full list of pharmacies.
Paracetamol and ibuprofen are very useful in settling fever, headaches and common viral symptoms. Widely available in supermarkets and pharmacies.
Nasal decongestant sprays are very effective in drying up the nose, but remember you should take a break after 3-4 days to avoid developing dependence and causing rebound congestion. Throat lozenges or spray can soothe the throat for short periods. Both can be found in pharmacies.
Pulmicort turbuhaler is only prescribed for people at high risk of severe COVID illness, which are age over 65, lung diseases or other serious medical conditions. It is an inhaler that contains steroid, taken 2 puffs twice a day. You should rinse your mouth after each use to wash away steroid left in the throat. For further instructions, see COVID-19 – Pulmicort inhaler | Health Navigator NZ.
Plain water is usually fine for hydration, but if you are dehydrated or having diarrhoea, electrolyte fluid will help your body absorb and rehydrate much faster. This is available in pharmacies.
Sport drinks and juice are fine if you don’t have other alternatives, but just beware of their high sugar content.
For a more natural and gentler approach, you are try lemon and honey drink, ginger, chicken soup, steamy shower and gargling warm salt water.
Tips to help with breathing
Changing your body position when resting can help move secretions and air to different parts of your lungs, and improve your oxygen intake. You can change position every 30 minutes to 2 hours as required.
For further information about positions, breathing techniques and tips, see Breathing positions and managing breathlessness | Health Navigator NZ.
How to use a pulse oximeter
You may be provided a pulse oximeter if you are considered high risk for severe COVID illness. It is not necessary in the majority of COVID cases, especially for people with mild symptoms.
It works by detecting light through the fingernail, and require a clean finger without nail polish or stains, and with good circulation. To use one, place a finger into the device and rest it on a table or arm of your chair. Press the button to turn on and wait for about 1 minute. For someone without serious pre-existing lung disease, a normal reading should be between 95% to 100%. Seek advice if it is below 95%, or consider urgent medical attention if below 92%.
For more information, see Pulse oximeter | Health Navigator NZ.
There is increasing awareness that there is a proportion of people with COVID-19 continue to experience symptoms for more than 12 weeks, and is now being called long COVID, or post-COVID syndrome. UK data (Ayoubkhani D et al. UK ONS CIS. 2021) between April 2020 to April 2021 found that prevalence to be about 2.5% (3% in COVID positive people minus 0.5% in COVID negative people). Most common symptoms of long COVID are fatigue, “brain fog” and shortness of breath, but many also experience other symptoms including cough, chest pain, palpitations, joint or muscle aches, headache, sleep disturbance and low mood.
The condition is not fully understood, and the development of long COVID may not necessarily be related to the severity of the initial infection. Some immunologists are drawing parallels between long COVID/post-COVID syndrome, post-viral syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome, which is proposed to be caused by the immune system being hyperactive. Fortunately, there is some evidence to suggest that vaccination halves the risk of developing long COVID in adults (Antonelli M et al. Lancet. 2021).