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.

Kia whakahaumaru te whānau, me ngā iwi katoa – this is 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 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 care in the community

Most people with COVID-19 are likely to have mild to moderate illness. They will be able to self-isolate and fully recover in their own home, or in suitable alternative accommodation, with support from healthcare professionals available.

The Care in the Community programme was developed by the Ministry of Health in consultation with the health disability and welfare sectors. It ensures that if you get COVID-19, you receive the health, welfare and wellbeing support you need.

COVID-19 Readiness Checklist [PDF, 121KB]Home care guide [PDF, 4MB]

Being ready for getting COVID-19 is about making sure you and your household have a plan and know what to do. This means your whānau and community can help each other if needed.

You must wear a face mask at most healthcare services. You are encouraged to wear a face mask in crowded places, such as public transport, or when visiting people at high risk.

If any cold or flu symptoms develop, please test regularly. Stay home as a precaution whilst testing negative. If you return a positive test, you will need to isolate at home for a minimum of 7 days. You can pick up free Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) and face masks from collection sites.

Find your nearest collection site

Masks are also available from a range of healthcare providers and community organisations.

The most common early symptoms of COVID-19 are a sore or scratchy throat, and a runny nose. If you have these symptoms, please get a test. 

COVID-19 symptoms

Where to get tested in Canterbury

What happens when you get a test

Here are some simple practical things you can do now in case you, or someone in your household becomes unwell.

Preparing to self-isolate

  1. Who must self-isolate
  2. Household Contacts
  3. What to plan for
  4. If you are away from home
  5. Let people know you are isolating

What will happen if you or someone you live with gets COVID-19?

With Aotearoa New Zealand’s very high rates of vaccination, the community is generally well-protected. If you are fully vaccinated and get COVID-19, you are likely to have mild to moderate illness. 

Household Contacts no longer need to isolate for 7 days.

If you live with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, we recommend you:

  • take a rapid antigen test (RAT) each day for 5 days
  • wear a face mask if you leave your home during your 5 days of testing
  • avoid contact with the person who has COVID-19.

Advice for Household Contacts

lf you receive regular home help through a disability support provider, this support will continue to be provided whenever possible.

Isolation requirements

Video: COVID symptoms and when to seek medical advice


If you have COVID and you’ve been asked to isolate at home, here’s some information about your symptoms – and when and who to phone.

You’ll be given the number for a healthcare team in case you need them. While you’re isolating you’ll need to keep an eye on your symptoms. You might be asked to take some recordings like your heart rate and oxygen levels.

What does that mean?


These are the things you’ll need to check and write down.

Taking your temperature IF YOU HAVE A THERMOMETER – not everyone gets a fever

but it’s worth knowing how to do it.

You may need to measure your blood oxygen levels and heart rate using a pulseoximeter.


How your breathing is GOING

And any new symptoms you have.

Knowing WHEN and WHO to call for help is really important.

CALL 111 IF:

  • you have a sudden change in breathing or bad chest pain (clutching chest)
  • you’re confused or not thinking clearly. (person looking confused or a bit bewildered)
  • you’re feeling faint or pass out (someone faints)


  • you have new or worse trouble breathing (new visuals for each symptom)
  • your symptoms are getting worse (clutching head or tummy)
  • you start feeling better, but then get worse (sitting on side of bed, feeling unwell)
  • you have a VERY dry mouth, aren’t peeing much or are feeling light-headed (CU face) Remember, if in doubt – give them a shout!

During your isolation period you cannot go anywhere or mix with people from outside your home – not even to pick up groceries or medication. This is where ‘getting ready’ is really important – because it includes identifying who will do these things for you if you are isolating.

What to expect when isolating at home

Support if you get COVID-19 [PDF, 227 KB]

Financial support

If you have a disability, let your health team know and they will make sure you have the help you need to get you through.

There is lots of information and resources in alternative formats and languages. Click the languages button on the top right of the Unite Against COVID-19 website for information in other languages and formats or choose one of these:

COVID-19 information in New Zealand Sign Language

COVID-19 information in Easy Read

COVID-19 information in Large Print and Audio

COVID-19 information - audio description

COVID-19 information in Braille

If you have specific health needs, let your health team know what you need.

If at any time you are concerned about your symptoms, phone your usual GP/doctor for advice. If you do not have a GP/doctor, call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and they will tell you what to do.

If you are having difficulty breathing or your condition is deteriorating, call 111. Our urgent and emergency care services will always be available.

Video: Be prepared for catching COVID-19! Team Talk with Coach


Kia Ora team – time out!

With most of us vaccinated the rules have changed.

We now have ‘The COVID Protection Framework’ with three settings:

Red, Orange and Green, better known as the Traffic Lights.

And it’s pretty easy for each of us to play our part.

First, with ‘My Vaccine Pass’, proof you are fully vaccinated, you’re ready to go.

Vaccine passes give you access to the everyday things you love.

Note that everyone still has access to basic services, like the supermarket and pharmacies.

If your setting is: Red, this isn’t like a red card, you get to stay on the field.

Use ‘My Vaccine Pass’ when out and about, but there will be limits of how many are allowed in places.

This keeps things operating and still keeps us safe.

Without a vaccine pass there are more restrictions around where you can go, and what you can do, including attending events and visiting many businesses.

Oh, and we all need to keep those masks on, like a team uniform.

Schools and workplaces should stay open.

Gyms will stay open too, if using a vaccine pass, but with a limit on the numbers.

Then there’s Orange.

Using vaccine passes, at Orange there’ll be no limit on numbers, and masks still play a part.

If you aren’t using a vaccine pass, some places may be pick up only.

And then, Go-for-it Green!

While COVID remains in play, masks on planes and encouraged indoors.

There will be no limits at places with ‘My Vaccine Pass’.

Without ‘My Vaccine Pass’ there’s still some restrictions.

The ball is in your court now, you need to play it safe.

So: Mask, Scan, Pass.

Plus, common sense team, keeping it kind will go a long way.

So c’mon team, let’s look after ourselves and be COVID-fit!

Watch the Be prepared for catching COVID-19! Team Talk with Coach video on YouTube

COVID-19 Readiness Checklist [PDF, 121 KB]

Downloads and links

Home care guide - Everything you need to stay safe when isolating at home with COVID-19

Disability related services
Getting help from a doctor and getting medicines
Health checks and COVID-19 testing
Returning your equipment
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Services and support directory
If you can’t work from home
My Health Diary
and more...

Home care guide - (PDF, 8MB)

COVID-19 Readiness Checklist [PDF, 121 KB]

We are self-isolating poster [PDF, 1.5 MB]

COVID-19: Information for Household and Close Contacts | Ministry of Health NZ

If you test positive for COVID-19 and need advice, you can call your regular GP/doctor if you have one or call the COVID Healthline on 0800 358 5453. They can advise on the following:

  • what it means to have COVID-19 and what you need to do
  • How to self-isolate.

You will need to isolate for at least:

  • 7 days while you recover from COVID-19

You can isolate in your home or in other suitable accommodation. This could be another property that you have access to or are provided, that is more suitable for self-isolation than where you usually live. If alternative accommodation is required, you will need to ensure you wouldn’t be living with a new group of people.

Are you feeling unwell with COVID-19 symptoms and need health advice?

Contact your doctor/GP or Māori or Pasifika health provider. Treatment and health advice for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 is free. All other non-COVID-19 related health advice may incur usual consultation fees.

Not enrolled with a GP or other health provider?

If you are not enrolled with a GP, other health provider, or require after hours or non-emergency COVID-19 health advice, call Healthline’s COVID-19 line: 0800 358 5453. They are available 24/7.

When to call 111

If you or the person you are caring for develops difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, fainting or becomes unconscious, call 111 immediately. Tell the operator if you or anyone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19.

Welfare support help is available

If you are self-isolating because of COVID-19, welfare help is available if you need it.

For non-health related support for things like financial assistance or kai, please call the Ministry of Social Development’s COVID-19 Welfare line: 0800 512 337.

When you can end your isolation

  • You can end your self-isolation 7 days after your symptoms started or you tested positive, whichever came first. 
  • You may receive a text message confirming your self-isolation period has ended, but you do not need to wait for an official message to leave self-isolation after 7 days.
  • You do not need a negative RAT result to return to work or school.
  • Some people can still be infectious after 7 days. If you are still sick at the end of your self-isolation period, stay home until you are well and for 24 hours after you no longer have symptoms.

Testing for Household contacts

When you develop symptoms

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms it is most likely you have COVID-19. You are a probable case and will need to test to confirm. You need to start self-isolating for at least 7 days from the day that your symptoms started to prevent further spread of the virus to others.

Most people with cold and flu symptoms manage with simple care and recover within a few days. Simple care is:

  • bed rest
  • regular paracetamol and ibuprofen to relieve pain and fevers
  • honey or throat lozenges for a sore throat
  • keeping hydrated with regular sips of water.

For most people symptoms of COVID-19 will be mild. If your symptoms get worse or you need urgent medical care call your local healthcare provider or Healthline on 0800 358 5453

If you have difficulties breathing or feel faint or dizzy at any stage, call 111 immediately. Tell them you have COVID-19 when you ring.

More information for Household contacts can be found on the COVID-19 Health Hub website

Information to help you if you test positive for COVID-19

If you are travelling (at 1 December 2022)

  • If you get cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms while away from home, take a RAT test immediately. Don’t wait until you get home.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19 while on holiday, you will either need to isolate where you are, make plans to isolate elsewhere or to return directly to your home by private transport.
  • If you have COVID-19, you can find detailed advice about managing your symptoms and what to do while you are self-isolating on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 Health Hub
  • You could get COVID-19 while you are away on holiday. Have a plan for what you need to do.
    • Plan how to get home safely to isolate — you can only return home if you or someone you are travelling with can drive there.
    • Talk through the plan with the people you are travelling with.
    • If you cannot drive home, it is likely you will need to stay where you are until your self isolation time is finished.
  • If you or the people you are travelling with can drive home in a private or work vehicle, you will need to make as few stops as possible. You need to plan:
    • your way home
    • how you would get fuel — you should only stop at a contactless petrol station
    • supplies for the journey home to reduce the number of stops you make.
    • You must not use public transport or do any long-distance road travel that requires an overnight stay or travel between islands.

Downloads and links

How to self isolate |

COVID-19: Information for Household and Close Contacts | Ministry of Health NZ

More information

Video: Managing your COVID symptoms


It’s important to rest at home and drink plenty of liquids when you have COVID.

Here are some ways to ease some of the symptoms you might be experiencing.

I’ve had a few aches and pains and my healthcare team said I could take paracetamol or ibuprofen to help with fever, body aches and headaches.

My nose has gone from blocked to runny and I’ve been coughing a bit. So, I’m allowed to use a nasal spray, decongestants, lozenges and cough mixture.

I’ve tried a couple of things for my sore throat, like salt-water gargle. (pulls a face)

A Teaspoon of honey went down a bit better!!

I got the pharmacy to deliver lozenges and some throat spray.

I’ve been throwing up and pooing all day. It’s not fun, but I’m keeping my fluids up, best I can. Sucking an ice-cube or ice-block is good.

Even if you experience mild or no symptoms, it’s important to stay hydrated – this means drink plenty of liquids or rehydration drinks like Gastrolyte.

Keep monitoring your symptoms so you can stay on top of any changes. Avoid running, or strenuous exercise.

Just chill.

You can do this and if at anytime you have any concerns that healthcare team is just a phone call away.

Video: Positions to make breathing easier


COVID-19 often causes problems with breathing. It’s been found that changing position regularly can make it easier to breathe and gets air to different parts of your lungs.

Lying on your back can make it harder to breathe, so try a few different positions: (character does this along with script)

Roll towards your tummy as far as you can, maybe with a pillow under your arm and leg.

Lying on the right side.

Lying on the left side.

Then back to lying on your belly.

Maybe try lying on an angle in a lazyboy, or propped on an angle with pillows instead?

Aim for about two hours or at least 30 minutes in each position if you can manage it.

Use pillows under your:

  • head and neck
  • chest
  • pelvis
  • and lower legs [see images] to make yourself more comfortable.

It’s better to wait an hour or so after eating to try these positions out, (especially lying on your tummy!)

If you’re still feeling short of breath, here are a few more things you can try.

Try a sitting position. Support your arms on your legs, on another surface, or against a wall.

I’m going to give forward leaning a go. You lean forward from the waist with your head and neck resting on a pillow and your arms on a table.

Oh, that’s helping. I might just try it without the pillow and rest my head on my hands.

If you don’t have a table handy, you can use a walker or sit on a chair. Lean forward to rest your arms on your lap or on the armrests of the chair.

And you can lean forward while standing too. Like on a windowsill or the edge of the deck.

You don’t need to just lean forwards either. You can lean against a wall or a tree, or anything.

Make sure your hands are by your side, your feet are about 30cm away from the wall, and slightly apart.

You can do this! Remember if you have new, or worse trouble breathing and have concerns, call 111.

Better breathing:

  1. Lying on your back can make it harder to breathe.
  2. Try lying in different positions for 30 minutes or more.
  3. Use a pillow to make yourself more comfortable.
  4. Standing up and leaning on hard surfaces can help.
  5. Know when to call for help.

General advice for self-isolating at home

  • Stay home. Do not go to work, school or public places
  • Limit contact with others you live with — for example, sleep by yourself and limit the time you spend in shared spaces. If you cannot, you should stay at least 2 metres apart and wear a face covering that covers your nose and mouth when near others.
  • Do not share items with others in your household — for example, dishes, toothbrushes, and towels.
  • Do your own laundry.
  • Do not have visitors in your home.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly. This includes items frequently touched like door handles, light switches and phones.
  • We recommend opening windows to increase fresh air flow inside. The risk of spreading COVID-19 is highest in crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
  • If you need food, prescriptions or essential items, get friends or family to leave them on your doorstep, or get supplies delivered.
  • If you are self-isolating, you are allowed to exercise in your neighbourhood and aren’t required to wear a mask while exercising. You must maintain physical distancing with anyone outside your household at all times.

Self-isolating: Apartments, temporary or holiday accommodation

If you are self-isolating in an apartment building, multi-unit dwelling, temporary or holiday accommodation, you should self-isolate for a minimum of 7 days and follow all the same health advice as applies to people self-isolating at home.

There is additional guidance for occupants of apartments and Body Corporate Committees about how to prepare for and manage an apartment building where a COVID-19 case is self-isolating.

Guidance – Isolating in Apartments (PDF, 607 KB)

There is also additional guidance for people isolating in temporary or holiday accommodation, and for managers and owners of holiday, emergency, transitional, public and temporary housing.

Guidance – Isolating in temporary or holiday accommodation (PDF, 423 KB)

This guidance is based on international guidelines and best current evidence available as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. Further updates may be made as new evidence emerges and in response to the level of community transmission in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Pay attention to how you are feeling and look out for worsening symptoms. If you need urgent medical help or cannot breathe properly, call 111 immediately. Tell them you have COVID-19 when you ring.


Care in the Community: Self-isolating timeline [PDF, 90 KB]

Support for if you get COVID-19 [PDF, 227 KB]

We are self-isolating poster [PDF, 1.5 MB]

Guidance for isolating in apartments |, PDF 528KB

More information

Find COVID-19 information in your language

COVID-19 information and advice in alternate formats for disabled people with communication needs

COVID-19 – Financial help and other support you may be able to receive (Ministry of Social Development)

Looking after your mental wellbeing

Getting support if you have COVID-19 or are self-isolating

The COVID-19 Care in the Community Framework (Ministry of Health)

Cleaning and disinfecting your home after self-isolating

General cleaning and disinfection advice (Ministry of Health)

What to do with your household waste

Get vaccinated if you are not already


Video: How to isolate (taratahi) at home


If you’ve been told you’ve got COVID or you think you might have it, it’s really important to isolate at home. This will help stop the virus from spreading.

Isolating can be really hard, especially if you live with whānau, friends or in smaller spaces.

You have to stay physically distanced from the rest of the household. It can help if you have a sleepout. If that’s not possible, stay in your room as much as you can and open windows to improve the airflow.

There are some important rules you should follow.

Stay at home

Kia ora John. I’m not feeling that great. I’ve got my results back and I’ve got the virus. No club night for me. I’ll be staying put for now.

Don’t leave home for food or medicines.

Koro, I’m leaving your brekky outside the door. And I’m making a list for online shopping.

Anything you need?

If you live alone or with others, arrange for someone to drop off food or medicines. Or you can get them delivered.

If you need to use the toilet or bathroom, use a separate one if you have it. If that’s not possible, use it after everyone else has been.

When you leave your room, wear a mask and keep 2 metres away from others.

Just going for a shower, kids.

We’re putting our masks on!

Hi guys, koro’s not too well. We’re all isolating so we can’t see you for a while, sorry.

If you are asked to stay at home with COVID-19, you’ll need to monitor your own symptoms. You can get help from a healthcare team if you need it. Kia ora e hoa. I’m outside getting some fresh air. I’m a bit hōhā but all good. Yep, I’m keeping track of my symptoms and got the kids running round after me.

You can do this and if at any time you have any concerns, a healthcare team is just a phone call away.

Video: How to reduce the spread of infection in your home


Isolating at home can be a challenge, especially if you live with other people or in smaller spaces. Here’s some ways to stop COVID-19 spreading to your whānau or roommates.

We’re lucky that there’s a sleepout in the garden, so I’m using that until I feel better. If you don’t have a sleepout, you’ll have to stay in your house in a separate room or a space all to yourself as much as you can. And keep the door closed.

Keep the windows open to let fresh air circulate.

If you have to stay in your house like me, use a separate loo or bathroom. If you have to share, try using it after everyone else so it can be cleaned and ready for everyone else to use again.

Clean and disinfect all the surfaces you touch around your home, like taps, toilet flushers, door handles, light switches, keyboards and benches etc

Afterwards and often during the day, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Then dry your hands well and put the towel in the wash – or rubbish if it’s paper.

It’s a good idea to have hand sanitizer around the place, and you need to rub your hands with it for 20 seconds.

Avoid using shared spaces, like the kitchen or dining room, at the same time as other people. Eat in a different room from other people.

And make sure you don’t share cups, glasses, plates and cutlery. Wash them separately in really hot soapy water.

If you do have to use a shared space with others in your household, everyone, including yourself, should wear a mask, keep a distance of at least 2 metres and keep windows open to get that fresh air in.

Bless you.

Try to cough or sneeze into your elbow, or cover your mouth and nose with tissues. Put your used tissues into a lined rubbish bin and wash or sanitize your hands again. Easy as.

You can do this! Remember, stay away from others in your home as much as possible. And if you have new or worse trouble breathing and have concerns, call 111.

Key messages for end slide:

  • Stay away from others in your own room if possible.
  • Keep the room well ventilated with fresh air.
  • Use a separate toilet and bathroom, or use it after everyone else.
  • Disinfect and clean all surfaces you touch.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Avoid shared household spaces like the kitchen or dining room.
  • Use separate cups, plates, glasses, etc and wash in very hot water.
  • If you have to share a space, everyone should wear a mask and keep a distance of 2 metres or more.

Page last updated: 5 December 2022

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