So your child has COVID-19. Now what?

By now, many of us have either had or know someone who's had COVID-19. 

And as case numbers continue to climb, it can be a particularly stressful time for parents who may be wondering what to do if their child tests positive for COVID-19.

So, to help take away some of the stress, we rounded up what you need to know if your child returns a positive result.

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From who you need to tell to what symptoms to look out for, here are your COVID-19 questions answered. 

1. My child has COVID-19. Who do I need to tell?

Just like if you contracted COVID-19, you need to let the people your child has been in contact with know that they have tested positive. This includes their household contacts, friends and family they may have caught up with and your child's school/childcare.

If you're struggling to find the right words, the Victorian Government has put together an example message to send to social contacts.

When you tell your child's school/childcare, let them know the following information: 

  • The date your child got tested 
  • When your child got sick and if you they had symptoms
  • The days they were at the education facility in the two-day period before they got sick or two days before their test if they have no symptoms.

The people they've come into contact with should follow the advice from their state or territory health department. 

2. Do I need to report my child's positive COVID-19 RAT result?

In all states except for Western Australia, it's now mandatory to report a positive rapid antigen test result. And the good news is, it's really simple. 

In Victoria, it's been mandatory to report your positive rapid antigen test since Friday January 7. As a parent, legal guardian or authorised carer, you can complete the online form on behalf of another person.

To report your positive COVID-19 result, simply open your Service Victoria app and select the option to "report your positive rapid antigen test result". Alternatively, you can find the online form here.

You can also register over the phone, via Victoria's Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398. 

In NSW, reporting positive COVID-19 rapid antigen tests became mandatory from Wednesday January 12. However there is a week's grace period that will expire on January 19.

You can lodge a result for yourself, or on behalf of another adult or a child under 15. 

NSW Health says positive results should be registered within 24 hours of the test. However, you do not need to register if you had a positive PCR test in the 28 days before your positive rapid antigen test.


To register, open your Service NSW app and scroll down until you see "COVID-19 resources." Within that tab there is an option to "register a positive test result" which takes you to the NSW government website.

You will be asked to determine if you are a "low risk" or "high risk" patient, and if you pick the latter, you will be contacted by NSW Health within 48 hours.

If you don't have the app, you can register via the website here.

If you have any issues or need help completing the form, call Service NSW on 13 77 88.

For more information on how to report a RAT result where you live, read our earlier article here. 

3. How do I best care for a child with COVID-19?

Most children who contract COVID-19 can be safely cared for at home, says NSW Health. 

It also appears that, within households, children are at low risk of passing on the infection to other family members, and in turn, are at low risk of picking up COVID-19 from adults, according to the Murdoch Children's Research Institute. 

If you can, you should designate one adult - ideally one who is not high-risk - to monitor your child.  

While caring for your child, NSW Health recommends giving them plenty of fluids to drink, dressing them in comfortable clothing, encouraging them to rest and using paracetamol or ibuprofen "only if you think your child is in pain or appears uncomfortable with a fever". 

Make sure you keep a close eye on your child's symptoms and call your GP, the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 or your state's COVID-19 hotline if you notice:

  • Your child has a persistent fever (>39°C) which is not responding to treatment
  • Your child is experiencing mild breathlessness
  • They are drinking less than half of what they would normally drink
  • Your child's urine output is less than half of their usual volume, and if their urine is dark in colour
  • Your child is experiencing moderate vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Your child is unable to stand or walk

If your child has difficulty breathing, is severely dehydrated or fainting, or you feel they need urgent medical attention, call Triple Zero for an ambulance and let them know your child has COVID-19. 


4. Should my child still be vaccinated after they had COVID-19?

Yes. ATAGI recommends that your child gets vaccinated after they recover from their illness "or vaccination can be deferred for up to six months."

However, at his stage, the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for children aged 5 to 11 years old only. 

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5. Can my child have a booster dose?

Currently, booster doses are only recommended for anyone 18 years and over who received their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least four months ago.

According to NSW Health, severe COVID-19 is uncommon in under 18-year-olds and "the primary course of COVID-19 vaccines generates a strong immune response, so the benefit from additional doses of vaccine is likely to be small." 

That said, ATAGI will advise if a booster dose is recommended for children under 18 in the future. 

6. My child is feeling anxious. What can I do to help them?

Isolation can be a tough time for anyone, let alone kids. If you or your child need mental health support, make sure to reach out to family, friends or mental health services including:

  • Beyond Blue helpline on 1800 512 348
  • Lifeline on  13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 

You can also visit your state or territory's health department website for more resources.

Feature Image: Getty/Mamamia.