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


14 documents.

Transporting specimens

Official guidance documents we use in New Zealand to cover the handling and transportation of microbiology samples from provincial hospitals to centralized testing laboratories.

I expect that official guidance would cover aspects such as reported by Miller et al. [1] including transport media, temperature and time from specimen extraction from patient until the analysis is completed at the centralized laboratory. [1] Miller et al., A guide to utilization of the microbiology laboratory for diagnosis of infectious diseases 2018: Updated by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American Society of Microbiology. Current Infectious Diseases 2018, 67(6), e1-e94. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciy381.


More informationDownload pdf (1MB)

COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests

Brand of Rapid Antigen Tests distributed to the public for home testing at Whanau Ora COVID testing centre Pages Road.


More informationDownload pdf (200KB)

COVID-19 tests and identifying measles

Regarding COVID vaccinations: How do testing protocols uniquely and individually identify the subject as having one or more of the following if they test positive? 

  • Measles virus


More informationDownload pdf (200KB)

COVID-19 Tests January 2020 to January 2021

  • How many COVID-19 tests, taken in the CDHB region between 22 January 2020 and today's date 28 January 2021, have been spoiled or damaged?
  • Resulting in those samples not being able to be tested./How were the tests spoiled or damaged?
  • When and where the samples were taken and transported to?
  • What repercussions were there for those involved in the testing process, including the patients affected?
  • How many patients, whose tests were spoiled or damaged, subsequently tested positive for COVID-19?
  • Any and all copies of video and photographs of spoiled or damaged COVID-19 tests.


More informationDownload pdf (400KB)

SARS Cov-2 testing on mariners

Regarding the ‘new strain’ of the SARS CoV-2: Has any evidence of that viral strain been forensically checked for, on the 3 vessels involved and were any of the cargos transporting frozen foodstuffs, fluids, chemicals, or containing medical supplies?


More informationDownload pdf (400KB)

COVID-19 Testing Protocols

  1. Copies of any protocols developed by, endorsed by or agreed to by Canterbury Health Laboratories  in relation to testing of samples from various patient groups within Canterbury.
  2. A summary of the mean and 90th centile time between sample collection and result reporting for covid-19 nucleic acid testing for samples analysed by Canterbury Health Laboratories. 


More informationDownload pdf (200KB)

Covid-19 testing

Letter of Understanding between the DHB and the PSA regarding an increase of penal rates

Please provide the Letter of Understanding between the DHB and the PSA regarding an increase of penal rates for PSA members, effective 13/4/2020. clarified as referring to all DHBs that employ laboratory workers.


More informationDownload pdf (1MB)

COVID-19 contact tracing

Number of people working in COVID-19 contact tracing each day from 1/12/2019 - 31/05/2020.


More informationDownload pdf (400KB)

Number of COVID-19 tests carried out

Information from Canterbury Health Laboratories and Community and Public Health about COVID-19 lab tests.


More informationDownload pdf (300KB)

Correspondence to unions regarding translation and abatement payments

DHB's correspondence to unions in regards to translation and abatement payments.


More informationDownload pdf (1MB)

Canterbury Health Laboratories submission on draft standard ASNZ 2243.3

Canterbury Health Laboratories submission in relation to Prions regarding the draft standard ASNZ 2243.3


More informationDownload pdf (12MB)

Cost of transporting specimens

Amount spent transporting specimens to and from Canterbury Health Laboratories CDHB.


More informationDownload pdf (300KB)

Showing 1-14 of 14 results, page 1 of 1.

Page last updated: 28 April 2022

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