I've got COVID. What do I do next?
Go to https://www.berlin.de/corona/massnahmen/abstands-und-hygieneregeln/ for the information (in German) about the latest regulations in Berlin. For the up-to-date information in your region, consult with your local authorities.
Everything I list below are the steps I found relevant, after I’ve self-tested positive for COVID in Berlin, in the end of January 2022.
Friday, 28th January 2022
I woke up with some mild symptoms of cold. On the day before I worked from home, and only had a usual an hour-long walk around Prenzlauer Berg — Mitte after the workday. The rapid antigen test (Schnelltest) was negative.
While still working from home, I took a “quiet Friday” at work, to simply focused on some mundane routines.
I went for a short walk in the afternoon, bought some grocery, and headed home.
Saturday, 29th January
Didn’t feel anywhere better or worse: mostly had a runny nose and a dry throat. I didn’t want to wait in the line for a quick-test, so I’ve just walked around the city for an hour and went home.
Sunday, 30th January
It felt the same as it’d been the day before, although the dry throat started to feel a bit more intense. Walked around for an hour, came home, made some coffee ;)
A couple hours later I started to cough. I made a self-test — we still had some at home — and,
Here we are! Welcome to the “two-stripes” club.
Felix Geisendörfer on Twitter was very genus to outline the next steps, following his own recent experience:
- You’re required to seek a PCR test.
- You’re recommended, not required, to isolate until PCR results come in.
- Isolation ends on day 10 after first test. A negative test on day 7 ends isolation early (can be rapid).
Felix also pointed to a Praxis, who did (free) PCR tests (https://praxis-arkonaplatz.termin-direkt.de/public/). As it turned out, they were in the walking distance from my home, I’ve booked an appointment with them for the next closest date (the next day’s morning).
Monday, 31st January
In the morning I informed my colleagues and the office-management about the situation, so they could do a contact-tracking-thing, and warned the folks, who’d been in the office with me, in the first half of the previous week 😇
During the day my cough became a bit stronger. I had a small fever (37℃).
The appointment for the PCR was at 10:30.
The “testing facility” was simply two opened windows at the Praxis’s ground floor, at the corner of Arkonaplatz 5/Swinemünder Str. 117. There was a small queue at the place, but the overall procedure took only about 5-10 minutes.
Some things to keep in mind before going to a free PCR test:
- You need an appointment.
- You need to have an insurance card (Gesundheitskarte) with you.
- You need to show “a proof” of a positive quick-test (or any “rationale” for the PCR test).
- You need to fill up a short form, while standing in front of the window.
In my case, I’ve showed the same photo I’d posted on Twitter, with the “two-stripes thing” as “a proof”. But I doubt that will do in the future.
(An extremely convenient thing about living in Prenzlauer Berg, is that lots of people in the “service jobs” speak English with no too big of a problem.)
They’ve told me I should expect the results via email in 48 hours.
Tuesday, 1st February
Got some “positive” news 🥁
I received an email from the laboratory with my PCR-test results (the results were ready just in 7 hours, according to the timestamps in the PDF):
Varianten-PCR B.1.1.529 (OMICRON-Variante, “Variant of concern”)
If I got it right, the “Ct-Wert” number shows how quickly (in cycles) the test turned positive, i.e. the more cycles they passed, the less virus were in the sample. It sounds somewhere similar to fuzz-testing to me :)
So far I felt similar as on the day prior: “some” cough — “some” dry throat — “some” runny nose — 37℃.
The head felt empty, although that’s a usual thing in this time of the year, when I could never tell for sure, if the way I felt was due to the changing weather, a light-flue, or because I’ve been starring at the screen for the whole day.
I updated the office about the PCR results, as they’d asked yesterday.
In order to add the test results to my Corona-Warn app profile, I had to call to the app’s hot-line to receive a one-time-password (TAN) for this test. After a brief survey a person from the hot-line called back with a 10-symbols TAN, they’ve generated for me. This entire part felt odd but that how it worked at the moment.
I guess, that counted as the “first day” of my stay-home-quarantine.
Wednesday, 2nd February
So far it all felt like a regular, annoying cold.
The runny nose turned into a stuffed nose. The temperature stayed at 37℃.
Thursday, 3rd February
Even though I felt okay during the previous two days, today I felt much better. “Nasic” helped with stuffed nose (this is not a medical advice!). But some light “dry” cough was still here.
I made a self antigen test out of being bored. The test was still positive. At least it was re-assuring to know, these tests didn’t show false-negative results.
Our office wrote that I will need to send them a “confirmation of the quarantine” (or a “sick note”) from the health department (Gesundheitsamt). I had no idea what “Gesundheitsamt” actually was, so I emailed the Praxis, where I took the PCR, for if they could provide these documents to me. They replied that this wasn’t on them, and that I will get this confirmation after my quarantine ends (I guess “automagically”). I also checked with our office if that was in the alignment with what they meant.
Friday, 4th February
In Russian, we called this “The dream has come true”.
I’ve got a letter from Gesundheitsamt, stated that I was on the quarantine from 31.01 until 10.02. Should I have no symptoms, and a positive (antigen) test after the seventh day, I could end my quarantine earlier (so far I felt fine, and I totally expected this would be the case).
Generally, I don’t think, a person shut in a self-isolation, was supposed to pick the letters from their mailbox, located at the house’s entrance, several stores below their flat. “Luckily” for me, until today, Olga — my wife — hasn’t been on the quarantine yet. All these days her antigen test was negative, so she’s been our family’s postlady for this whole week 📯
The letter included the link to the district’s health department’s recommendations (http://berlin.de/ba-pankow/ip), where I had to go through a survey (Indexpersonen-Meldeformular) for PCR-positive people, to outline the story. One question there was about my possible guesses for where, or from whom, I’d caught COVID. To be frank, with the overall number of people around, infected with the “little O” (o mikron), I didn’t care “where”: could be in a grocery store, could be in a tram, or simply on a walk.
Saturday, 5th February
The “happy” line from this morning’s rapid test was barely visible, comparing to how it had been two days before. But the test was still positive 😐
Olya was also tested positive yesterday, with PCR’s “Ct-Wert” 17.36, and her condition was way less mild than mine. It wasn’t any way close to something “major” but fever, very intense cough, overall weakness, etc. didn’t look fun.
Sunday, 6th February
My stuffed nose and occasional dry cough felt annoying this morning, but they’ve just blended into the lazy weekend, as the day progressed. It’s been already one week since the first positive test. Time flies ⏰
Monday, 7th February
My rapid self-test was finally negative. Tomorrow I could leave my self-quarantine, make a rapid test in one of the city’s test centres, to get an official confirmation of being a healthy individual.
Tuesday, 8th February
I went to a test centre in the morning to avoid waiting in the queue. The rapid test was negative, meaning I was officially released from the quarantine!
Also, I got an email from the Praxis, where I made the PCR, with a certificate of recovery, to add to my Corona-Warn app profile. Now I had the “full house” of badges