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.
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.
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.
Here are some simple practical things you can do now in case you, or someone in your household becomes unwell.
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:
lf you receive regular home help through a disability support provider, this support will continue to be provided whenever possible.
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.
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:
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.
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
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:
You will need to isolate for at least:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
Self-isolation means staying at home and taking common-sense precautions to avoid close contact with those you live with.
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.
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.
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.
COVID-19 – Financial help and other support you may be able to receive (Ministry of Social Development)
The COVID-19 Care in the Community Framework (Ministry of Health)
General cleaning and disinfection advice (Ministry of Health)
Advice and resources for community providers.
The COVID-19 Care in the Community Framework (Ministry of Health)
Supporting providers through COVID-19 (Ministry of Social Development)
COVID-19: Advice for all health professionals (Ministry of Health)
COVID-19: Support workers (Ministry of Health)
COVID-19: Primary care (Ministry of Health)
COVID-19: Advice for community allied health, scientific and technical providers (Ministry of Health)
COVID-19: Aged care, disability and hospice care providers (Ministry of Health)
COVID-19: Pharmacy (Ministry of Health)
COVID-19: Well Child Tamariki Ora (Ministry of Health)
COVID-19: People with dementia at home (Ministry of Health)
Case definition and clinical testing guidelines for COVID-19 (Ministry of Health)
COVID-19: Medical transfer (road and air) (Ministry of Health)
Page last updated: 5 December 2022
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