The Mexican had to be re-tested ahead of this weekend's race at Silverstone after his initial test came back "inconclusive". Racing Point issued a statement confirming that Perez is "physically well and in good spirits" despite the positive test results.
The Mexican was self-isolating and absent from the Silverstone paddock on Thursday after an "inconclusive" result led to a retest.
Racing Point driver Sergio Perez of Mexico steers his auto during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring racetrack in Mogyorod, Hungary, Sunday, July 19, 2020.
A statement from the FIA, F1's governing body, said that Perez had "entered self-quarantine in accordance with the instructions of the relevant public health authorities, and will continue to follow the procedure mandated by those authorities". Up until Thursday there were only two positive results, neither involving front-line F1 personnel.
Tests are carried out to detect two particular COVID-19 genes and, if a patient has both, the test registers as positive.
The FIA confirmed on Thursday evening that Perez had tested positive for COVID-19 following multiple tests, ruling him out of the grand prix weekend while he goes into quarantine.
Perez was conspicuously absent from Racing Point's FIA press conference, with a team spokesman justifying the driver's absence.
"The procedures set out by the FIA and Formula 1 have provided for swift containment of an incident that will have no wider impact on this weekend's event".
Perez's positive is clearly more high profile but it is unlikely to impact too widely on F1.
It is not yet clear who will take Perez's race seat this weekend.
Racing Point does have an agreement in place with Mercedes to use their reserve drivers should the need to replace their usual race drivers emerge.
The 2020 season should have started in Melbourne in March but the race was cancelled after McLaren withdrew when one of their team member tested positive for the coronavirus.