ORANGE

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 www.vaccinatecanterburywestcoast.nz 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

Check for health warnings before going near waterways – ‘if in doubt, keep out’

Thursday 2 February 2017Media release3 minutes to read

Recreational water users are being reminded to avoid contact with some Canterbury and South Canterbury waterways – with the long weekend almost here.

Dr Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says remain in place where there's potentially toxic blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) in a number of areas around the regions.

“Make sure you check the health warnings for toxic algae before going near any waterways this long weekend,” Dr Humphrey says. “And if in doubt, keep out.”

Algal blooms can produce toxins harmful to humans and animals; people should avoid contact with the water until further notice. The algae is particularly dangerous for dogs.

“Animals that show signs of illness after coming into contact with algal mats should be taken to a vet immediately. Symptoms of cyanotoxin poisoning in dogs include panting, lethargy, muscle tremors, twitching and convulsions – which usually occur within 30 minutes of exposure.”

Dr Humphrey says people who come into contact with the mats can also experience unpleasant symptoms.

“Exposure may cause skin rashes, nausea, stomach cramps, tingling and numbness around the mouth and fingertips. If you experience any of these symptoms visit your doctor immediately and please let your doctor know if you have had contact with the lake water,” Dr Humphrey says.

People should never drink water from a waterway where a health warning is in place and they should also avoid eating fish and shellfish.

“Boiling the water does not remove the toxin. If fish are eaten, remove the gut and liver and wash in clean water.”

Dr Tim Davie, Environment Canterbury Chief Scientist, says it is not possible to monitor every reach of every streams and rivers in Canterbury so we concentrate on sites where we know people swim.

“We monitor 52 popular freshwater swimming sites in Canterbury and similar number of beaches; the results are shown on the Environment Canterbury and the LAWA websites (Land, Air, Water Aotearoa),” Dr Davie says.

“If you're swimming at non-monitored sites then we encourage you to check the stream bottom for what look like black mats.  If there are significant black mats and particularly if bits are breaking off then you should not swim or allow dogs to the site.”

Potentially toxic algae is currently present in the following locations in the region:

  • Te Waihora/ Lake Ellesmere
  • Te Roto o Wairewa/ Lake Forsyth
  • Lake Rotorua (Kaikoura)
  • Hurunui River at State Highway 7 (including the swimming hole behind the Balmoral campground) and State Highway 1
  • Waikirikiri/Selwyn River at Glentunnel
  • Te Nga Wai River at Te Nga Wai Bridge (near Pleasant Point)
  • Opihi River at Saleyards Bridge (near Pleasant Point), near State Highway1 and near the Waipopo Huts
  • Pareora River near the Pareora Huts
  • Hakataramea River near the State Highway Bridge
  • Cust Main Drain near Skewbridge Rd.

Visit the Environment Canterbury website for more information on swimming quality in Canterbury.

You can also contact Community and Public Health for more information on this health warning (03 364 1777).

Facts about cyanobacteria:

  • The algae occur naturally but can increase rapidly during warmer months.
  • If the water is cloudy, discoloured, or has small globules suspended in it, avoid all contact.
  • Not all cyanobacteria blooms are visible to the naked eye and toxins can persist after the blooms disappear.
  • Cyanobacteria concentrations can change quickly with changing environmental conditions (e.g. wind). Avoid contact with the water if a health warning is in place.​

ENDS 

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Page last updated: 27 September 2018

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