COVID-19 antivirals are available, but must be taken within 5 days of symptom onset.7 That’s why it’s important to speak to your doctor without delay if you test positive for COVID-19.1
When to contact your doctor if you test positive for COVID-19
People with certain health conditions may be at risk of severe COVID-19.4
If you are at risk and test positive, contact your doctor without delay.
It’s important to phone your doctor’s practice for a telehealth appointment and not to go there in person. If you don’t have a regular doctor or you can’t get an appointment quickly, you can contact HealthDirect’s free helpline on 1800 022 222 or use the Service Finder below to find a doctor near you.1
Tips for making a doctor’s appointment
- Have your positive PCR results or your RAT test at hand
- Inform the receptionist that you have tested positive for COVID-19 and you would like to make a telehealth appointment for as soon as possible
- If no appointments are available for that day, inform the receptionist that:
- You may have risk factors for severe COVID-19 and you would like to discuss your treatment options with a doctor.
- COVID-19 medicines must be taken as soon as possible, so it is important that you speak to the doctor as soon as possible.
- If no doctor is available for an appointment, could the practice refer you to another doctor?
I have no risk factors; can I just isolate and recover at home?
If you have mild symptoms, no additional risk factors and have not been previously hospitalised with COVID-19, you should rest at home and follow your state or territory guidelines. You can find specific information for where you live on our Resources and Support page. Remember to phone your doctor if your symptoms get worse.
Test at the first sign of COVID-19 symptoms. If you test positive and are at high risk of
severe COVID-19, talk to your doctor for advice without delay.
Tell your family and friends about planning for COVID-19.
By clicking any of the links listed below, you will be leaving the MSD website. The link you have selected will take you to a third-party website. We do not review or control the content of any third-party site. We do not endorse and are not responsible for the accuracy, content, practices, or standards of any third-party sources.
- Updated eligibility for oral COVID-19 treatments. Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. Accessed 15 August 2023.
- How testing works for COVID-19. Therapeutic Goods Administration. Accessed 16 March 2023. https://www.tga.gov.au/products/covid-19/covid-19-tests/how-testing-works-covid-19
- COVID-19 disease and symptoms. Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. Accessed 24 February 2023. https://www.health.gov.au/health-alerts/covid-19/symptoms
- Risk factors for more serious illness. Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. Accessed 24 February 2023.
- What COVID-19 test should I do? NSW Government. Accessed 15 March 2023.
- Testing for COVID-19. Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. Accessed 24 February 2023. https://www.health.gov.au/health-alerts/covid-19/testing
- Medicines for treating COVID-19. Health Direct. Accessed 15 March 2023.
- Protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. Accessed 24 February 2023.
- If you have COVID-19. Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. Accessed 15 March 2023. https://www.health.gov.au/health-alerts/covid-19/testing-positive#testing-positive-for-covid19