Hospital visiting guidelines updated 20 July 2022: Hospital visitors must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable. See our COVID-19 pages for detailed information about hospital visiting guidelines, COVID-19 tests and care in the community advice. See for information about vaccinations.

We are at ORANGE according to the NZ COVID-19 Protection Framework

Last updated:
20 July 2022

Mask exemptions accepted for people seeking treatment
Any member of the public with a mask exemption is welcome in all our facilities when attending to receive health care and *treatment. Please show your mask exemption card and appointment letter to staff at the entrance.

*Treatment includes: coming into the Emergency Department, outpatient appointments,  surgery or a procedure.

For visitors to all facilities effective from Wednesday 20 July 2022

With the recent resurgence in cases in Canterbury, largely due to the Omicron BA.5 subvariant we are seeing an increase in demand right across the health system. Presentations to our Christchurch ED and Ashburton’s AAU are higher than ever and admission rates are high, which means we have a shortage of resourced beds.

Recently, we have seen too many unwell people coming to visit someone in hospital and too many that cannot or will not wear a medical mask. This increases the risk to vulnerable people in hospital. For these reasons we need to everything we can to minimise these risks.

We have therefore tightened visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury hospitals and health facilities.

Kia whakahaumaru te whānau, me ngā iwi katoa – this is to keep everybody safe:

  • One visitor per patient in the hospital at any given time, except where stated otherwise in the ‘exceptions’ section below.
  • No visitors under 16 to any part of our facilities.
  • No visitors to COVID +ve patients other than in exceptional circumstances.
  • No eating or drinking at the bedside or anywhere other than cafes or areas designated for eating/drinking, as taking your mask off puts patients at risk.
  • Visitors or support people must not visit our facilities if they are unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms (even if they have tested negative) or have had a recent tummy bug.
  • Do not visit if you are COVID +ve or a household contact of someone who has tested positive
  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all times at all sites and will be provided if people don’t have them. Mask exemptions do not apply in our facilities – people who cannot tolerate a mask cannot visit at this time.
  • Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must be used.

By sticking to the rules above, you help keep our patients, staff, other visitors and yourself safe. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as our staff work hard to protect and care for some of the most vulnerable in our community.

Exceptions to the ‘one visitor’ policy

  • Exceptions can apply in some circumstances where trusted whānau members provide assistance, reassurance and other support for therapeutic care or on compassionate grounds – please talk to the ward’s Charge Nurse to discuss this before you come to hospital to visit. For whānau with an essential support role as a Partner in Care – again, please check with the ward’s Charge Nurse before you come to hospital to visit.
  • People attending Christchurch ED or Ashburton AAU can have one support person with them.
  • Women in labour and in the birthing suite can have two named support people + their community LMC/midwife if they have one – for the duration of the birth only. All other women on the Maternity Ward are allowed one support person for the duration of their stay in our facilities at Christchurch Women’s Hospital and other maternity units. Only one support person can be with each woman in the maternity ward, and one support person for maternity clinic appointments. No under 16s are allowed to visit or attend appointments.
  • Parents/caregivers can be with their baby in NICU.
  • Parents/caregivers are able to be with their child in hospital (Except Children’s Haematology and Oncology Day patients where only one parent or caregiver is permitted).
  • People requiring support when attending an appointment can have one support person. Please let the relevant service know if you need this so they are able to accommodate your request.

Visiting patients with COVID-19

  • To avoid them becoming infected with COVID-19 and passing it one, visitors to COVID-19 positive patients will not be allowed except in extenuating circumstances – by prior agreement with the Charge Nurse Manager only, and wearing an N95 mask.
  • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, facetime, zoom etc.

You must NOT visit the hospital if you

  • are a household contact of a COVID-19 positive case
  • are COVID-19 positive
  • Have a cold or flu/COVID-19-like symptoms (even if you are testing negative for COVID-19)

Exceptions for people with disabilities

An exception will be made for people with disabilities who are in hospital or have to attend an outpatient appointment – where they need a support person to access health services. For example, a sign language interpreter, support person for someone with a learning disability, or someone to assist with mobility. The support person is in addition to the one permitted visitor.

Everyone visiting our facilities must wear a mask, no exceptions

While we appreciate that some people have legitimate reasons for being exempt from wearing a mask and may even have an official card to confirm this, people who cannot or will not wear a mask cannot visit someone in hospital or attend hospital, other than to access healthcare treatment*. This is another measure to minimise the risk to vulnerable patients.

*healthcare treatment includes: Emergency Department care, outpatient appointments, surgery or a procedure. 

Patients and visitors should also read the additional more detailed visiting guidelines for each specific hospital.

More COVID-19 information

Measles outbreak 2019

Official information request details

  1. Cases of measles, were found to be caused by vaccine strains, yet there was no clarification of what those vaccine strains were. What were those strains? 38 case were wild strains. What were the additional wild strains, apart from B3?
  2. Am I to understand that the 13 vaccine strains were from the GSK Priorix MMR vaccine? As these developed symptoms recently, I would presume that to be the case. Given the numbers that vaccine strain were detected in, have resulted in measles infection, will there be any recalls of the batches involved? Were they considered to be potentially hot batches? Were those cases all from the same batch and where do those 13 cases of vaccine strain fit in, to the data on the ESR website? I am somewhat confused, as the CDHB site states, these are not included in the outbreak... yet surely need to be stated on the ESR site somewhere and more detail provided? That would be interpreted as an act of transparency, would it not?
    NB: There is evidence in the scientific community that measles vaccine strain, can be transmitted to others from someone who was twice vaccinated with the MMR vaccine. The index case i.e. the fully vaccinated person, transmitted to other partially and fully MMR vaccinated individuals. Therefore the potential for transmission is not theoretical.
  3. What assurances will you be offering to the public who have received the GSK vaccine, who also may experience vaccine strain measles? Could more people be experiencing symptoms, but having had the vaccine, not notify anyone, believing that they were protected? If so, could these also be potentially vaccine strain cases, therefore your number of 13, be higher in fact?
  4. Given that there is evidence of the vaccine virus being capable of being transmitted to others, in the scientific literature, what public notification will the CDHB be offering, if at all, to inform about this, as this has ramifications for Community Immunity, as well as the process of Informed consent, under risks and benefits, does it not?
  5. By excluding the 13 cases from the outbreak, this may confuse the public and result in a lack of confidence in the vaccine itself and given that the Mayo Clinic's own vaccine scientist, Dr Gregory Poland has himself stated in Pub Med papers, that measles is becoming a disease of the vaccinated and that a new vaccine is needed, does this not raise some concerns for the CDHB?
  6. How many of the cases that are listed on the ESR website who were under 15 months of age and also above 15 months of age and under 4 years old, were in fact NOT being breastfed, which may have afforded them maternal transfer of antibodies and therefore protection? How many of those mothers had been vaccinated in the past, with the MMR vaccine, whose infants contracted measles?
  7. If 236 people who notified the authorities were investigated, what specific investigations were undertaken, as I was informed by ESR, that not all cases were investigated by lab testing, and some were confirmed by association only? I note that Hospitalisations are listed on ESR database. This would not presumably indicate how many were actually 'admitted,' to a ward, with a proportion of those spending about 3 hours on average in the Accident and Emergency Department, before being sent home. Some people attend the hospital in order to avoid the expense of the After Hours of course, or incurring a charge for attending their GP clinic.
  8. If those who were confirmed as having measles by reliable lab testing and to have 'vaccine strain measles' which will not be included in the outbreak, how many of their contacts who also developed measles, were tested by the RT-PCR test, to determine if they also had vaccine strain measles?
  9. Why has GSK not been mentioned in the CDHB information, in regard to the 13 vaccine strain cases? That was one of my questions in the OIA. Are they notified about these cases?
  10. Will the vaccine strain cases be reported to NZ CARM and reported on both databases? Do you consider this to be a vaccine failure, measles, or an adverse reaction?
  11. When will the media and the wider public be informed about the genotype results? They are not found easily when one goes to the site.
  12. What are those who had vaccine strains actually told? Will the fact that they have experienced a milder form of measles, result in any type of 'cell mediated immunity' and what strains will they be immune to? Is there any likelihood that there could be a problem with mutations for those people?
  13. Given that the numbers of cases who have been infected is just 38 wild strain and 13 vaccine strain cases and a significant number of those would not have been of an age, when they would be administered the vaccine due to their age, whilst others were either partially or fully vaccinated with the MMR vaccine, yet still contracted measles, what do you see this latest information suggests, about Community Immunity and how this vaccine is perceived, regarding its efficacy and the science that is evolving, around Adversomics and Genomics, both being integral parts of immune response and best health outcomes?
  14. Will all other DHBs be providing the same type of information on genotyping of cases on their websites, as that collated information becomes available?


Download (pdf, 800KB)

Back to Document Library

Page last updated: 23 July 2019

Is this page useful?