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

Measles case prompts immunisation warning

Friday 11 December 2015Media release3 minutes to read

Health officials have issued a measles warning following confirmation an infected tourist has visited Wellington, Marlborough, and Canterbury in the past week.

The 28-year-old European tourist first became aware of measles-like symptoms on Monday (7 December), visiting a Kaikoura General Practice Team two days later (9 December). Laboratory testing confirmed measles yesterday (10 December).

The case had stayed in Wellington and Motueka while infectious but prior to being diagnosed. It is likely the case contracted measles while in Australia.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey, says measles is highly infectious.

“The measles virus spreads easily from person to person through the air, via breathing, coughing and sneezing. It starts with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat. This is followed by a rash that spreads over the body,” Dr Humphrey says.

People who aren't fully immunised are being asked to keep a close eye out for measles symptoms.

“We're asking people who haven't been immunised and who may have been in contact with the case to keep a close eye out for these symptoms. If you develop symptoms phone a doctor and let them know that you have potentially been in contact with a confirmed measles case.

Dr Humphrey has commended the actions of the tourist since becoming aware of the possibility of having measles.

“Once the case realised he could have measles he did all the right things. By isolating himself he has greatly reduced the likelihood of further spread, and possibly saved lives as well,” Dr Humphrey says.

“The case is one of a relatively small number of people who for medical reasons aren't able to be vaccinated. Their protection relies on those of us who can get vaccinated to do so. The more people who get vaccinated, the safer everyone will be.”

The case is currently staying in a private house outside Christchurch with people who are fully immunised. His infectious period ends at midnight tonight (11 December).

Dr Humphrey says the New Zealand tourist industry needs to be on alert for possible measles cases.

“Over the next few years there is a heightened risk of measles as a result of the decision by parents in the 1990s not to get their children immunised due to now discredited research on the link between the measles vaccine and autism.

“While it's important to get vaccines on time, every time, it's never too late. For more information on immunisation speak to your doctor,” Dr Humphrey says.

Get more information about measles on the Ministry of Health website.

The case's travel history
3-5 December: Comfort Hotel, Cuba Street, Wellington
Case symptom free. Infectious period begins.

5 December: BlueBridge Ferry
Sailed from Wellington at 8am.

5-7 December: Motueka Holiday Top 10 (private cabin)
Shows first symptoms 7 December.

8-10 December: Lazy Shag Backpackers, Kaikoura – isolated himself in a private room.
9 December: Visits doctor who notifies Canterbury DHB of suspected measles case.
10 December: Lab test confirms measles.

11 December: Travels by car to private residence outside Christchurch
Infectious period to end at midnight 11 December.

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Page last updated: 19 December 2018

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