All hospital visitors are recommended to wear a medical face mask. Expand this message for information about visiting hospital.

Last updated:
13 March 2023

Some visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury hospitals and health facilities remain in place, but we have relaxed others.

There is still a heightened risk to vulnerable people in hospital and so we recommend all people wear a mask when visiting any of our facilities and follow other advice designed to keep patients, staff and  visitors safe.

To keep everybody safe:

  • Visitors or support people must not visit our facilities if they are unwell. Do not visit if you have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and haven’t completed your isolation period.
  • Patients may have more than one visitor, except in some situations such as multi-bed rooms where it can cause overcrowding.
  • Surgical/medical masks are recommended to be worn at all sites. Masks will be provided if you don’t have one.
  • For Specialist Mental Health Services everyone is strongly encouraged to wear a face mask in all inpatient areas and areas where consumers are receiving care (i.e. community appointments, home-visits, transporting people). Discretion may be applied in cases where masks impair your ability to communicate effectively.
  • Visitors must not eat or drink in multibed rooms because of the increased risk when multiple people remove their face mask in the same space.
  • Hand sanitiser is available and must be used.

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.

Visiting patients with COVID-19

  • People can visit patients who have COVID-19 but they must wear an N95 mask – this will be provided if you don’t have one.
  • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, Facetime, Zoom, WhatsApp etc where visits aren’t possible.

All of our Hospitals

Visiting hours for our hospitals have returned to pre COVID-19 hours with the exception of Christchurch Women’s Hospital.

All visitors are recommended to wear a medical face mask.

Parents/caregivers are able to be with their child in hospital and visitors are now allowed, except for the Children’s Haematology and Oncology Day stay where just one parent/caregiver is able to attend their appointment with their child. Exceptions by special arrangement only.

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 2022Media release4 minutes to read

THIS IS AN ARCHIVED PAGE. The advice and information contained in this page may not be current and it should only be used for historical reference purposes.

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: 27 February 2024

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