Hospital visitors don’t need a Vaccine Pass, but must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable. See our COVID-19 pages for visiting guidelines, COVID-19 tests current case numbers in regions of Canterbury and care in the community advice. See for info about vaccinations.

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

Last updated:
19 April 2022

For visitors to all facilities effective from Tuesday 19 April 2022

With the change to the ORANGE Traffic Light setting, Canterbury DHB is easing its visitor policy in recognition of the fact we have passed the peak of the current Omicron outbreak and case numbers are slowly reducing.

The following visitor restrictions are now in place for all Canterbury DHB hospitals and health facilities:

  • One adult visitor may be accompanied by no more than one child over the age of 12 per patient in the hospital at any given time, except where stated otherwise in the ‘exceptions’ section below.  No children under 12 and those 12 and over must be accompanied by an adult and wear a medical mask.
  • Visitors or support people should not visit our facilities if they are unwell.
  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all times at all Canterbury DHB sites and will be provided if people don’t have them.
  • Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must be used.

By adhering to these conditions, 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 (ie more than one visitor) where a trusted whānau member provides 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 – 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 support people, and women on the Maternity Ward are allowed one support person for the duration of their stay in our facilities at Christchurch Womens Hospital. Only one support person can be with each woman in the maternity ward, and one support person for maternity clinic appointments, no children are allowed to visit.
  • 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, following a supervised negative RAT result)
  • Children who are inpatients, one other visitor (other than a parent or caregiver) is able to visit in consultation with the nurse in charge.
  • 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.

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.

Face covering exemption cards

The Exemptions Team at the Ministry of Health is now responsible for processing requests for Face Covering Communication Cards.

Updated information about mask wearing, and how to request an exemption card can now be found here. People unable to request an exemption card online can call 0800 28 29 26 and select option 2, or text 8988

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

More COVID-19 information

COVID-19 in Canterbury – case numbers continue to top more than 1000 a day

Friday 13 May 2022Canterbury DHB News4 minutes to read

Some Canterbury health services are being deferred as DHB staffing impacted by COVID-19

COVID-19 in Canterbury – case numbers continue to top more than 1000 a day

Cantabrians are asked to remain vigilant and continue to keep up their healthy habits as new COVID-19 cases in the region continue to top more than 1000 per day.

Canterbury Health System Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) Incident Controller, Jo Domigan, says that ongoing demand for health services, along with the sustained high number of active COVID-19 cases in the region and a continued high rate of staff absence due to illness and COVID-19 are putting huge demand on the system. We currently have 67 people in in our hospitals with COVID-19.

“The move to the Orange traffic light setting and the relaxation of some COVID-19 rules, along with Canterbury’s case numbers peaking some weeks ago, may have created a false sense of complacency.

“COVID-19 remains prevalent in our community and the Omicron outbreak is not over.

“We were planning to begin a gradual increase in planned care such as elective surgery next week. However, we regret that we are once again having to defer more surgeries and appointments as the long tail of COVID-19 continues to place pressure on our services. We apologise to those affected that we are having to take this step.”

“We will review the situation again next week and hope to resume more planned care the following week (commencing 23 May).

“These decisions aren’t taken lightly, and our teams are hugely disappointed and dismayed to still be in this situation of not being able to resume planned care. 

“We work as an integrated health system in Canterbury, and plan to utilise any spare private sector theatre capacity to allow more surgery and procedures to be provided over the coming months.”

From next week Canterbury DHB will swap from an ECC to operate a System Wide Operations Centre (SWOC) which will be led by a small team who will continue to link in daily with partners from throughout the health system to support our integrated response.

As we get closer to winter, we expect to see an increase in acute demand due to respiratory illnesses, including the flu and RSV.

“There’s no doubt winter this year will be a challenging time for our people and our wider health system. When we experience sustained high levels of acute demand and need to admit more people to our hospitals this has a direct impact on the amount of planned care such as surgery and procedures we can provide.

“Unfortunately for our community the cumulative impact of COVID-19, including lock-downs and high levels of staff illness as well as industrial action all impact on our ability to provide the level of planned care we would like to.”

Your general practice or healthcare provider should be your first port of call if your health issue is not an emergency.  Please plan ahead as much as possible for your routine health care, and book early. Your usual healthcare provider will offer some urgent appointments when required.

If after hours care is needed people are encouraged to phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free health advice 24/7 or visit one of the Urgent Care centres in Canterbury.  If people come to ED with something that could be treated by a GP or with advice from a pharmacist they may be advised of alternative options. People with non-emergency conditions are likely to experience a long wait to be seen in ED as we need to triage everyone presenting to ensure those in the greatest need, with life-threatening conditions are seen first.

“We need to keep the Emergency Department for emergencies,” says Jo.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is important that people keep up the healthy habits:

  • Wearing masks in all indoor settings
  • Maintaining physical distancing
  • Opening  windows and doors to increase ventilation wherever possible
  • Practising good hygiene by regularly and thoroughly washing or sanitising your hands
  • Staying home if you’re unwell
  • Taking a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) if you have COVID-19 symptoms or you are a close household contact of a positive case
  • Reporting your test results on My COVID Record (
  • Ensuring all your immunisations are up to date – including your flu immunisation and COVID-19 booster.



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Page last updated: 13 May 2022

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