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September 22, 2023
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COVID-19 News & Information

I Just Tested Positive, Now What?

I Just Tested Positive, Now What?

Follow these steps if you or someone in your household is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms:

Isolate yourself from others

Regardless of your vaccination status, if you test positive or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you should assume you are contagious and stay home and away from others, even within your household, for at least 5 days. Use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Calculator to determine how long, people with COVID-19 and close contacts need to stay home, get tested and wear a well-fitting mask.

Tell your close Contacts right away

Jackson County Public Health is no longer doing contact tracing of close contacts of COVID-19 positive cases, so it’s up to you to let them know! Call, email, or text people with whom you were in close proximity 2 days before your symptoms began. You should also recommend that they quarantine at home. The sooner you let your contacts know, the sooner they can take action to stop the spread.

A close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of you for more than 15 minutes during your period of transmissibility. This time does not have to be consecutive and is cumulative over a 24-hour period.

Your period of transmissibility is 48 hours before you began to experience symptoms. Or, if you are not experiencing symptoms, it is 48 hours before the date you took your test.

Ask your medical provider if treatment is right for you

Early treatments are the most effective, so talk to your provider as soon as possible.  If you are at risk for severe COVID-19 disease (some examples of severe disease are overweight, pregnany, older age, diabetes type 1 or 2, current or former smoker, cancer, substance use disorder, chronic kidney or liver or lung or heart disease), get tested as soon as you are symptomatic so that you can access treatment. For treatment information, visit the OHA website.

Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Click for more information on how to care for yourself at home. 

If you test positive and are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, treatments are available that can reduce your chances of being hospitalized or dying from the disease. Medications to treat COVID-19 must be prescribed by a healthcare provider and started as soon as possible after diagnosis to be effective. Oregon Health Authority (OHA) now offers free telehealth visits statewide for those at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness through Color Health. Telehealth visit hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Consultation is offered in 17 languages. You can visit OHA’s COVID-19 treatments page or call Color at 833-273-6330 for more information.


Telling Your Employer

If you are employed and test positive for COVID-19 you should not go to work. Even if you do not have symptoms, you should still not go to work. Follow the guidelines for isolation and take care of yourself.

If your employer requires a doctor’s note to stay home, you can contact your doctor, clinic, or the place where you got tested.

Most employers should not require employees to have a negative test before being allowed to return to work. Some places--such as carceral, childcare or healthcare settings--may require a negative test before returning. Check with your employer.

Should I tell my employer?

Food service employees must tell their employer if they test positive.

If you are not in food service, we strongly recommend you tell your employer if you test positive for COVID-19 and have been around other employees or the public at work. You can help slow the spread of COVID-19 by telling your supervisor or employer as soon as possible. People who were around you at work will then know to stay home and away from others and get tested too.

Will my employer tell my coworkers I tested positive?

Employers are required to tell employees of their exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace (OHA General Guidance for Employers). They must keep information confidential and not reveal your name or personal information as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Will my employer question me about COVID-19 symptoms?

During a pandemic, employers who are required to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) may ask employees if they are experiencing symptoms. They must maintain all information about employee illness as a confidential medical record, in compliance with the ADA.

If you are being treated unfairly

If you experience discrimination when you tell your employer you tested positive for COVID-19, contact the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) to file a report and get help. Report the discrimination as soon as possible. Call 971-673-0761 or email

Contact Oregon OSHA to report hazards at your worksite. Call 503-229-5910 or go to

Sick leave options

1. Paid sick time - Oregon law gives all employees sick time, including part-time workers. You get this if your employer has 10 or more employees (6 or more in Portland).

2. Essential Protections During the COVID-19 Pandemic

3. Information from U.S. Department of Labor

4. Call 211 if you need help to stay home during quarantine and isolation.