After your child’s COVID-19 test

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Learn about what you should do after your child has been tested for COVID-19. And what to do if they test positive or negative. Also learn what it means if your child must isolate and what everyone else in the household needs to do.

Key points

  • Your child has been tested for COVID-19, it is important they rest and take care of themselves while isolating at home until they receive their results. If your child is fully vaccinated and does not have any symptoms, they may be able to continue attending school while waiting for their results. Please follow directions from your school and local public health unit.
  • When speaking to your child about COVID-19 you can start by asking them what they know or have heard and then address their concerns.
  • Isolating can be difficult for families but there are many strategies that can be used to help navigate this challenging experience.

Your child has been tested for COVID-19 either because they had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or because they have symptoms of a COVID-19 infection.

COVID-19 is a viral infection. Most children will have mild symptoms, if any. The most common symptoms are fever and cough. Less common symptoms include sore throat, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, tiredness, skin changes and shortness of breath.

After your child’s COVID-19 test

If your child had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or they have symptoms of a COVID-19 infection they may have to isolate while waiting for their test results.

As with most viral infections, you can manage your child's fever and pain with medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, unless a doctor has advised you that your child should not take these.

You should encourage your child to stay hydrated by drinking fluids often.


Please visit the COVID-19 Videos for Kids playlist from The Hospital for Sick Children for additional videos.

What if my child tests positive?

If your child tests positive, then your local public health unit will contact you. In Ontario you can also check results online at

  • Your child will be required to isolate regardless of whether they have symptoms or not. Your local public health unit can provide a timeline for how long the isolation period must last.

What if my child tests negative?

If your child tests negative, you will not receive a call but can check the test results online. In Ontario please visit

  • If your child’s test is negative, they should remain isolating until they are symptom free.

What does isolating mean for a child?

If your child is isolating they should:

  • Stay home
  • Not go for walks outside
  • Not have visitors to the home
  • Avoid contact with others as much as possible (especially with any at risk people)
  • Cough and sneeze into their elbow
  • Wash their hands frequently
  • Wear a mask when around other people

Other people in the same household as your child should self-monitor for symptoms. Keep in mind that it can take up to two weeks for someone who was exposed to start showing symptoms. Other people in the same household as your child should:

  • Avoid contact with the child as much as possible
  • Use a separate bathroom if possible
  • Wear a mask when in the same room
  • Try to clean household surfaces often
  • Make sure EVERYONE washes their hands frequently

Talking to kids about COVID

It is important to provide accurate information to your child that is appropriate to their developmental level. Here are some suggestions.

  • Share ‘need to know’ information with your child, using age-appropriate language.
  • Answer questions directly and honestly and do not make false promises.
  • It is okay if you do not know all the answers; focus on the short-term plan for the whole family.
  • Ask your child how they are feeling. Let them know what they are feeling is OK and many other people are having the same feelings. Use words to share your own feelings, tell your child if you are anxious, worried, sad etc.
  • Model healthy coping skills and take care of your own physical and mental health.

Visit for more information and resources.

Coping with isolation

Here are some ideas you can try to help your child cope with feelings of isolation.

  • Work with your child to develop a daily schedule: This could include academic and learning activities, leisure and creative activities and physical activities. Try to stick to a consistent routine for waking up, meals and snacks, and bedtime. Routines offer security and predictability to children.
  • Use creative ways to stay in contact virtually with family and friends. Set up regular video calls and encourage children to stay connected as much as possible.
  • If your child is upset, validate their feelings. Offer concrete reassurance by saying for example: “I am here for you when you are ready, or if you need me” and “We will get through this together.” For younger children, distraction and redirection can also be helpful. For example, you can suggest reading a book together.

Remember that most children are adaptable and resilient by nature.

When to call a doctor

If at any time your child becomes more unwell, or their symptoms get worse, contact your health-care provider or if you are in Ontario call Health811 (811 | TTY: 1-866-797-0007).

In a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

Last updated: November 11th 2021