What to do if I test positive for COVID-19 now?

The fifth wave of COVID-19 is hitting Hong Kong hard, the city has recorded more than 60000 infections and around 150 deaths since the fifth wave began in late December.

During the fifth wave of COVID-19, Hong Kong is clearly unprepared in terms of its coping mechanism. Some people are still confused about the arrangement, and they might be questioning themselves what they need to do if they get infected: What do I have to do if I am infected? What if my family members are infected? … Or what if my neighbours are infected? Don’t worry, here are some of the answers to your biggest concerns after integrating information from the government as of today (February 24, 2022).

People queuing up to buy rapid antigen test (RAT) kits in a pharmacy. (Photo: Angie Ling)

What if you are tested positive for COVID-19?

  1. Undergo COVID-19 nucleic acid testing

Make sure to always reserve self-testing kits at home. If you feel sick, you can easily take the rapid antigen test (RAT) to see if it is positive. If not, stay home until you feel better. If you are unlucky and the test shows positive, then the next step for you is to undergo the COVID-19 nucleic acid testing at the community testing centres or mobile specimen collection stations.

Different brands of self-testing kits are selling in pharmacies. (Photo: Angie Ling)
Pharmacies stock up with self-testing kits. (Photo: Angie Ling)
  1. Keep calm and stay at home

If your nucleic acid test result is positive, you will receive an SMS notification from the government. Your case will be added to the “COVID-19 Admission Allocation System” by then and the government will arrange you to a hospital or isolation facility. However, not immediately.

Now you will have to patiently wait for the admission to the hospital at your own home unless you are assessed as “high-risk patients” by the Hospital Authority. Patients with severe conditions or with higher risk would be transferred to the hospital in priority.

If you are not counted as one with higher risk, then you should remain at home, and preferably, stay in your own room and keep the door closed. You should monitor your health condition and avoid face-to-face contact with other household members, according to the government’s advice.

  1. Online self-reporting form

To reinforce contact tracing, starting from February 22, infected persons will receive an online self-reporting form link alongside the positive result’s SMS notification. You have to fill in your personal information and information of your household members, as well as other close contacts.

Online self-reporting form for infected persons. (Link: https://www.chp.gov.hk/cdpi/)
  1. Transferring to isolation facilities

After you are transferred to isolation facilities, you will have to wait until your nucleic acid test result is negative for seven days. Then you can return home (if your household condition is permissible) and self-quarantine for 14 days. If your result is still positive, you will need to stay in the isolation facility for another 14 days.

What if you could not get into any isolation facilities because of the long waiting list? If your rapid antigen test result is negative on Day 14 after obtaining a positive nucleic acid test result, you will be considered as “recovered” and be removed from the waiting list of the “COVID-19 Admission Allocation System”.

  1. Designated clinics and taxis

The Hospital Authority has activated designated clinics for COVID-19 patients to receive diagnosis and treatment. And earlier, 300 designated taxis are also activated to transfer patients to these clinics.

This is just an optional step. If you do not feel well and have mild symptoms of infection like fever, cough, sore throat that would need medical advice, you can book the designated taxi through their website or hotline number (3693 4770).

What if you are the CLOSE CONTACT to someone with COVID-19?

  1. What is “close contact”?

The definition of “close contact” has been clarified by Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection at a press conference on February 14.

  • Household members living with you two days before the onset of symptoms
  • People that have eaten together with you two days before the onset of symptoms
  • If you do not have any symptoms, then it will count two days before your sample result shows positive
  1. StayHomeSafe scheme – Stay at home and wear the electronic wristband

To protect the healthcare system to collapse, the government has implemented StayHomeSafe scheme on February 8 and announced further details for close contacts and household members of the close contacts.

Under the scheme, you will have to stay at home and wear an electronic wristband for 14 days. You should report to the STAYHomeSafe Hotline if you have a fever ≥38°C or other severe symptoms.

  1. StayHomeSafe scheme – Undergo rapid antigen tests on required days

Also under the scheme, you are required to undergo a rapid antigen test on Day 1, Day 4, Day 7, and Day 10 by yourself. On Day 12 of your home quarantine, you need to go to a community testing centre for swab taking.

If you are a household member of close contacts, you will also need to stay at home and wear an electronic wristband, but only for 4 days. You need to undergo a rapid antigen test on Day 1, Day 2 and Day 4.

What if you live in the SAME BUILDING as someone with COVID-19?

  1. Your building might not be under compulsory testing notices

If there are confirmed cases in your building, the government will notify the management team of the building. But this does not mean the building is under compulsory testing notices.

  1. Compulsory testing

Buildings with confirmed cases detected in at least two units within a short period of time would be put under compulsory testing notices, according to the government’s press release. If this is the case for your building, you will need to undergo compulsory testing twice on the date specified on the compulsory testing notice by the government.

  1. Restriction-testing declaration

If a restriction-testing declaration (RTD) is conducted in your building or housing estate, it means your housing estate has a positive sewage test result for COVID-19, and the viral load in the sewage samples is very high. In this case, you and all persons in the “restricted area” will have to undergo compulsory testing before a specified deadline according to the government notice.

Policies and arrangements are still changing constantly, therefore you need to be aware that this list is just a guideline. You will still have to look at the government’s COVID-19 thematic website for updated announcements and information when needed.

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