If you have tested positive, learn what to do next.

Updated September 15, 2022

You must self-isolate immediately to prevent spreading COVID-19 to others and you may be eligible for treatment.

  • COVID-19 treatments

    An online screening and virtual assessment service is available for people who tested positive for COVID-19, to see if they would benefit from receiving COVID-19 antiviral treatments.

    How to request and get treatment

    If you have reviewed the criteria and believe you would benefit from treatment, you can start the request process.

    You should start the process as soon as possible. Delays may mean you are not able to receive Paxlovid or Remdesivir, because treatment must be started within five days of developing symptoms.

    You aren't guaranteed treatment. Paxlovid and Remdesivir treatments are not suitable for everyone and must be prescribed by a primary care provider. At any step of the process, it may be decided by a physician or pharmacist that treatment isn't right for you.

    Option one: Talk to your primary care provider

    If you have a primary care provider, contact them as soon as possible to talk about treatment options.

    If you can't get an appointment within three days of symptoms starting, you should request treatment via Service BC instead.

    Option 2: Request treatment through 811, Service BC or Fraser Health Virtual Care

    If you don’t have access to a primary care provider or can’t get an appointment within three days of developing symptoms, you can call 811, Service BC (1-800-663-7867) or Fraser Health Virtual Care (1-888-268-4319). Learn more about the virtual service and eligibility on the Government of BC’s webpage.

  • Self-isolate now

    Visit our self-isolation page for guidance.

  • Notify your close contacts

    Generally, close contacts are people who you have spent longer than 15 minutes with where additional precautions to prevent COVID-19 were not used or were insufficient. 

    Close contacts who you should notify are generally people who:

    • Live in the same home as you, or

    • Had intimate contact with you

    Learn more at our Close contacts page.

  • When to get medical care

    People with weakened immune systems are at increased risk of more severe illness due to COVID-19. This can include older people and people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, kidney disease or chronic lung disease.

    If your illness feels worse than a common cold:

    Call 8-1-1 any time, day or night, if you have any questions or concerns about your health.

    Call 9-1-1 if you have more severe illness, such as trouble breathing or chest pain.

    *Note: Any time you go for medical care, call ahead. Let them know you have COVID-19.

  • When to end your self-isolation

    How long you need to self-isolate depends on your COVID-19 vaccine status and age. If you have tested positive and are managing your illness at home, you can end self-isolation when all three of these conditions are met:

    1. Fully vaccinated OR less than 18 years of age: At least five days have passed since your symptoms started, or from test date if you did not have symptoms. Fully vaccinated means you received both doses of a two-dose series (e.g. AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna vaccine) or it has been more than 14 days since you received a single dose of a one-dose series (Janssen/Johnson and Johnson vaccine). Learn more at the BCCDC's webpage.
      Not fully vaccinated AND 18 years of age or older: At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms started, or from the day you tested positive if you did not have symptoms. Learn more at the BCCDC's webpage.
    2. Fever has resolved for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
    3. Symptoms have improved.

    If you require hospitalization or if you are immunocompromised, visit the BCCDC's webpage to learn what to do next.

    If you are a traveler returning from outside Canada, visit the BCCDC's webpage to learn what to do next.

    If you don’t have a fever and the signs of COVID-19 illness are improving by the end of your self-isolation period, you no longer need to self-isolate. You might have a cough for several weeks. A cough alone is not a reason to self-isolate for longer.

    If your signs of COVID-19 illness get worse or do not improve beyond your self-isolation, arrange to see a healthcare provider (see “When to get medical care”).

    When your self-isolation is complete, continue to take precautions such as physical distancing, wearing a mask and cleaning your hands often.

  • Returning to work or travel

    If you need proof that your isolation period is over or require a clearance letter for travel or work, you can use a copy of your COVID-19 test results. 

    Your PCR COVID-19 test results (tests that are done by a staff person at a COVID-19 testing centre) are available through an online portal called Health Gateway. You can download and print a copy of your test results.

    Rapid antigen test results (ex. rapid test, at-home kit) will NOT be available at Health Gateway.

    Private PCR COVID-19 test results (tests that are paid for privately for work/travel) are available from the test provider directly. Follow their instructions to access a copy of your test results. 

    If the PCR COVID-19 lab result alone is not acceptable, and a clearance letter is required for travel, you may be able to contact your physician for assistance with the necessary paperwork. If the test was a rapid antigen test done at home, the physician may not be able to assist with the paperwork. 

    To use Health Gateway to view/download and print your PCR COVID-19 results you will need your mobile BC Services Card. If you haven’t used it before, get set up from your mobile device.

    For more information about Health Gateway and how to register, visit www.gov.bc.ca/healthgateway

     
  • When caring for a child who has COVID-19

    Consider the child’s age and mental and physical well-being when caring for a child who is sick. Steps such as self-isolation can be stressful for young children. Some caregivers choose to self-isolate along with their children if they have COVID-19. Other options including selecting one person to be the caregiver, to help limit the spread in a household.

    Children generally have milder COVID-19 symptoms than adults. However, in rare circumstances, children can become quite ill. Take your child immediately to your nearest emergency department or call 911 if your child:

    • is having difficulty breathing
    • has blue lips or skin, or appears very pale
    • has red and/or swollen lips or tongue
    • is coughing excessively, particularly with a fever
    • is vomiting excessively, especially if there is blood in the vomit
    • has diarrhea and vomiting, is not producing tears and has not urinated for several hours
    • has a high fever, appears very sleepy and has not improved with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil).
    • is under three months of age and has a fever of 38 degrees C (100.4 degrees F) or greater
    • has pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away
    • has new confusion
    • has the inability to wake or stay awake
    • has severe abdominal pain
    • has a spreading rash. 

    Learn more about children and COVID-19 on the BCCDC's Illness and medical care page. A rare condition called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) can develop after a child or adolescents has had COVID-19. Learn more about MIS-C.

  • Learn more

    If you have any questions or concerns, call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1.

    To speak with someone in your language, say your language in English three times, then wait until an interpreter comes on the phone.