If you test positiveWhether the result comes from a self-test or a laboratory, you should take steps right away to protect yourself and others if you test positive for COVID-19. 

A new ADHS resource, azhealth.gov/TestedPositive, has easy-to-follow instructions on what to do if you test positive. It includes an infographic suitable for printing and an option to have information emailed to you. 

Most important: Isolate yourself for at least five days, either from the start of symptoms or from the positive test if you have no symptoms. Remain isolated, except for going to medical appointments, until you are symptom-free for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication.

Continue taking precautions. That includes wearing a mask, washing your hands thoroughly, and maintaining physical distance from others. 

Inform your primary care physician of your positive test result. That has two benefits: Your doctor can take COVID-19 into account now and in the future for your care. He or she may recommend treatments appropriate for you such as monoclonal antibodies or antivirals. 

Also inform those you have been in close contact with over the past few days. Someone who tests positive for COVID-19 can spread the virus as early as two days before testing positive and throughout the duration of symptoms. Isolation is recommended for close contacts who aren’t up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccination.

If you are facing an emergency such as difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention or call 911. If your symptoms are mild and you need care, consult your primary care physician, consider tele-health options available through many insurance plans and medical providers, or visit an urgent care. In addition to these being more affordable alternatives to an emergency room visit, using alternatives to the ER helps preserve hospital capacity to treat medical emergencies. 

It is possible to get COVID-19 if you’re fully vaccinated and even boosted. In general, illness is less severe among those who are fully vaccinated. In December, as the extraordinarily contagious Omicron variant became dominant in Arizona, unvaccinated individuals were 4.1 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19, 24.4 times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19, and 57.9 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than the fully vaccinated.

This is all the more reason to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and, if you are, to make sure you are boosted so your protection is up to date. You can find a provider of safe, free, and highly effective COVID-19 vaccines at azhealth.gov/FindVaccine.

Contracting COVID-19, especially with the Omicron variant highly active in Arizona, doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. But doing the right thing if you test positive helps protect you and others while helping reduce the spread.