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 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 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

Multiple winter illnesses placing pressure on health system; more than 155,000 COVID-19 cases recorded in Canterbury

Tuesday 7 June 2022Canterbury DHB News3 minutes to read

Patients in Canterbury rural health facilities to be temporarily relocated

Canterbury has now recorded more than 155,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with almost 1000 new cases recorded today. Multiple winter illnesses continue to place pressure our health system.

Vaccination and healthy habits are the best protection against the viruses circulating this winter. We’ve all learnt some great habits over the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as vaccination, wearing masks, physical distancing, and increasing ventilation when indoors. These measures will help protect us as we face influenza and other viral diseases.

“I am incredibly pleased to hear that 123,000 Cantabrians have already had their flu jab. But I am worried for our Pacific and Asian communities where uptake has been low. Please encourage your whānau and friends to get their flu jab as soon as possible, especially if they are eligible to get one for free,” says Becky Hickmott, Senior Responsible Officer for Winter Planning, COVID-19.

“With the borders now open, there is a very real possibility you may get COVID-19 and influenza within a short time period. Measles may also start circulating. By having all your vaccinations and staying well this winter, you’ll help keep health services free for those who need urgent care.

“Māmā and pāpās, we need to get our tamariki immunised. Now is a great time to get your 5-11 year olds vaccinated against COVID-19 if they are eligible and we also need to make sure that all our pēpi, tamariki and rangatahi have had both of their MMR immunisations to protect against measles.

“You can get all of these vaccinations (COVID-19, influenza and MMR) at the same time if you need them.”

Make sure you’re winter-ready, so that you and your whānau stay healthy and well all season. This includes making sure you get any prescriptions for medication you need in advance. Please stay at home if you are unwell with a cold or any other illness. 

“Our COVID-19 case numbers remain very high in Canterbury. This is impacting our primary care providers as they continue to manage high numbers of sick patients, while also grappling with staff illness,” says Becky Hickmott.

“At the DHB we still have on average 200 staff off every day with COVID-19 and we have 56 COVID-19 patients in hospital today.”

“Most people can manage cold, flu and COVID-19 illness at home, which keeps the health services for the very unwell.  Make your GP or normal healthcare provider your first port of call, but if after hours care is needed visit one of the Urgent Care centres in Canterbury.  

“Remember that you can also phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free health advice 24/7. If you’re caring for someone at home with flu, there are some useful practical tips here on danger signs to watch out for, especially when caring for babies and young children/tamariki.

“I would like to emphasise that if you are very unwell, we do want to see you at the Emergency Department. We want to reassure our community that you will receive the emergency and acute care you need this winter.”



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Page last updated: 7 June 2022

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