Just when we thought the worst of COVID was behind us, it seems everyone and their mate are now either a positive case or a close contact of one. With these figures only set to rise, experts predict that 60 per cent of the population will have contracted the virus in the next two weeks.
If you’re one of the remaining few who is yet to get it, we’ve put together a complete COVID-19 isolation checklist of the essentials that we recommend stocking up on in the coming weeks (think RATs, face masks, Vitamin C, Hydralyte, etc.).
Obviously, we’re not encouraging you to go out and panic buy. However, we want to ensure you have the basics on hand to get through an unexpected a seven-day isolation – especially if you live rurally or don’t have ample access to delivery services.
But before we jump into that, here are a few handy explainers and articles around what to do if you’ve tested positive for COVID that are worth adding to your reading list ahead of the weeks to come.
- COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots: When, Where and How You Can Get One in Australia
- When to Take a Rapid Antigen Test for COVID and When to Line Up for a PCR Swab
- Should You Swab Your Throat for a Rapid COVID Test?
- No, the ‘C’ and ‘T’ on a RAT Don’t Stand For ‘COVID’ and ‘Totally Fine’
- I’ve Tested Positive to COVID. What Should I Do Now?
- You Can Finally Register Your Positive RAT in the Service NSW App, Here’s How
- These Are the Best Face Masks for an Australian Summer
- What to Send Your Mates Who Are Struggling in Iso Right Now
COVID-19 Isolation Check List
Stock up on essentials at the chemist
You might have these in your medicine cabinet already. Still, we highly recommend keeping some paracetamol or ibuprofen on hand to relieve those fevers, aches and pains when they kick in. If you manage to avoid catching the virus, they’re still good additions to your medicine stash if you don’t end up using them.
A pack of cold and flu tablets also won’t go astray, and they can be a real help when it comes to relieving a runny nose and sinus pain brought on by Omicron. The same can be said for the ol’ throat lozenge — gotta keep that scratchy throat lubricated.
Now, I know this next item is worth its weight in gold as of late, thanks to a shortage in its availability, but Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) are super beneficial to have if someone in your house tests positive.
Why? Firstly, to access the government COVID-19 isolation payments, you need proof of a positive Rapid Antigen Test. Secondly, they help to keep tabs on the rest of your close contacts (AKA your household) over the next seven days to see if anyone else needs to stay holed up in their room.
To narrow down your dismal Rapid Antigen Test search, you can head to Find A Rat which shows you exactly where those sneaky things are available in your area. Some PCR testing sites are also handing out free RATs via a separate drive-through line if you’re lucky enough to live near one of those. Many have reported being eligible for as many as two RATs per person on their Medicare card or two per person present in the car.
If you live in Melbourne, Jacqui Felgate has been a great helping hand in sharing COVID-19 information, often posting which retailers have RATs at any given time and which PCR testing sites have the shortest wait times. And if you’re a Sydney local, the Instagram account Bondi lines post where you can score some RATs on their IG stories daily. What can we say? Not all heroes wear capes.
Alternatively, some online retailers like Chemist Warehouse have been reserving a number of RATs which are being sold exclusively online. However, as you can imagine, they’re a hot commodity, so you’ve got to keep an eye out and get in quick.
Moving on, some fresh disposable face masks or reusable face masks are an essential worth stocking up on in the current climate. And while you’re at it, you might like to grab some vitamin C tablets too and start boosting that immunity now.
Do your grocery shopping wisely (AKA don’t shop when you’re hungry)
It’s all about meal planning, people!
Stock up is the keyword here (not panic buying). Grab yourself some easy to cook or pre-made meals like soups, dumplings, frozen veggies, pasta and non-perishable legumes like lentils and chickpeas because you need to prioritise those nutrients to get better, folks.
Having a few batches you can cook and freeze in your arsenal will be handy if you’ve tested positive for COVID, and don’t feel like cooking. Plus, they’re a better alternative to waiting an hour for UberEats. Thank us later.
On that note, ample fluids are the next best thing to help you recover quickly, which is why having things like bottled water, tea, Hydralyte, Powerade, ice blocks, smoothie ingredients or flavoured water drops on hand can be super beneficial.
It’s probably also wise to stock up on other general household essentials you might be running low on, like tissues and toilet paper.
Lastly, this one is often overlooked, but don’t forget to get your hands on some disinfectant products like wipes or sprays because once your COVID-19 isolation is up, cleaning down your space will make you feel a lot more fresh and at least a lil’ more human again.
If you find your local Woolworths or Coles lacks the goods, try a smaller grocer or local market. Amazon even offers exceptionally speedy delivery for Prime members and has a bunch of essential stock available.
Prepare your home
Make sure you keep an open line of communication with your household on how things will go down if someone contracts COVID-19 and plan accordingly. E.g. Isolating in your room or one particular space of the house.
If this is the case, it also pays to make sure you’ve got fresh sheets and towels, you’re up to date with your washing and that your room (or living space) is relatively clean. No one wants to be battling dirty laundry while feeling like the pits. And have disinfectants to help wipe down shared spaces once you’re finished, like the bathroom.
Be sure to get a couple of entertainment essentials like your favourite streaming services, video games, books or activities like paint by numbers or some DIY essentials to help pass the time in iso on your not-as-sick days, too.
While there’s a fair chance your symptoms may be mild and your recovery relatively quick, if you find you need medical attention, don’t be afraid to ask for help and mask up for a lift to the hospital.