19th January 2022

HSE updated information about isolation following positive Covid test

If you get a positive PCR test result for COVID-19 (coronavirus), you need to self-isolate (stay in your room). There is a high risk you could spread the virus to other people. Do this even if you completed your first round of COVID-19 vaccination, had a booster or had a positive PCR test in the past.

Do not go to a vaccine appointment if you currently have COVID-19 (confirmed by a PCR or antigen test).

You should wait:

  • 3 months if you are due to get a booster dose or additional dose (immunocompromised)
  • 4 weeks if you are due to get your first round of COVID-19 vaccination
    Phone HSELive on 1800 700 700 to get a new appointment date.

How long to self-isolate?

You should self-isolate (stay in your room) as soon as you notice symptoms of COVID-19 or get a positive COVID-19 test result. Either of these are considered day zero when you are counting your self-isolation days.

You need to self-isolate (stay in your room) for 7 full days. You can stop self-isolating after 7 days have passed if you have no symptoms or your symptoms are mostly gone.

It’s OK to stop self-isolating even if you have a mild cough or changes to your sense of smell – these can last for weeks after the infection has gone.

After your 7 days of self-isolationWhen you stop self-isolating after 7 days, you need to take extra care for another 3 days to reduce the risk of passing COVID-19 on.

Be especially careful in places that are:

  • crowded
  • enclosed
  • poorly ventilated
  • hard to avoid close contact with people


You should:

  • limit close contact with other people outside your household
  • wear a medical or respirator face covering
  • take an antigen test if you have to be in close contact with people or go to a crowded, enclosed or poorly ventilated space
  • avoid contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19
    work from home unless it is essential to go to work in person
  • follow all the usual advice on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19



Your close contacts

Tell your close contacts that you have COVID-19, if you are comfortable doing this.

When we have their details, we will contact them with advice by text message. We will not give them your name.

Provide a list of your close contacts
You need to provide details of your close contacts to the contact tracing team. This is the law.

Use the 6-digit pin number you received in a text message from contact tracing to provide your close contacts details on the list your contacts website. This is for people who had a positive PCR test only – there is a different process for people who need to report a positive antigen test and list their contacts.

Before you start, write down their:

  • names
  • mobile phone numbers
  • when you were last in contact with them
  • their address and date of birth, if you know them
  • How long to go back
  • If you had symptoms of COVID-19 before your test, include all household and non-household close contacts from 48 hours before you developed symptoms.

If you did not have symptoms of COVID-19 before your test, include all household and non-household close contacts from 24 hours before your test.

Places you have been

Think back about any:

  • social visits outside of your home
  • any visitors to your home
  • trips you had – bus, train, plane, ferry, taxi, or a lift in a car with someone else
  • sport or activities with other people
  • services you got like hair, beauty or health appointments

If you were at an event or in shared accommodation, write down the name and mobile phone number of the manager, event organiser or COVID officer.

Your workplace
Phone your employer to let them know you have tested positive for COVID-19 if you were in your workplace:

  • 48 hours before your symptoms began
  • 24 hours before your positive COVID-19 test result – if you did not have symptoms of COVID-19


Information:You can request a certificate of recovery from 11 days after your positive PCR test. These certs are issued by the Government, not by the HSE.

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