Information on COVID-19
It is not time for us to ease up on our precautions against COVID-19. We’ve been through a lot, and we will get through this too. We’re stronger together.
Protect yourself and others from COVID-19
Stay home if you feel unwell. Isolate wherever you are and call Healthline (0800 358 5453) about a free COVID-19 test. Getting tested will help keep your community safe.
Keep a track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen. This will help health services to quickly stop any possible spread.
Scan QR codes using the NZ COVID Tracer app – available from the Apple Store or Google Play- and enable Bluetooth tracking on your device.
Use the NZ COVID Tracer booklet – available in English and other languages – or keep a diary or calendar if you can’t use the app.
Wash your hands with soap and water often – for at least 20 seconds – and dry thoroughly. This kills the virus by bursting its protective bubble.
Cough or sneeze into your elbow. This will keep the virus off your hands so you won’t spread it to other people and make them sick too.
Regularly clean surfaces that get touched frequently.
Maintain physical distancing. Keep a safe distance of 2 metres from people you don’t know while out and about. This will help minimise spread if community transmission returns.
Wear a face covering when on public transport or a domestic flight. You will be keeping your community safe by covering for each other.
Update on the COVID-19 Immunisation Programme
The COVID-19 Immunisation Programme is continuing to work at pace. The COVID-19 vaccine will be for everyone aged 16 years and over – regardless of their visa or citizenship status.
The vaccine will be free for everyone and no one will miss out. Having the vaccine will not be mandatory for Kiwis. The best way to protect yourself, your kaumātua and whānau is to get vaccinated.
Vaccinations will be available at a range of locations, including pop-up centres, GPs, Māori and Pacific healthcare providers, mobile clinics and community clinics.
Who can currently book a COVID vaccination
The following people are able to book their COVID vaccine appointments:
- People in Group 2 – high-risk frontline workers and people living in high-risk places. This includes people living and working in long-term residential environments (not including halls of residence or boarding schools) and people who care for older Māori and Pacific people;
- People in Group 3 – those over 65, with an underlying health condition or disability, pregnant or living in a custodial setting; and
- People aged 60 years and over in Group 4 can now book their vaccinations – effective from Wednesday 28th July 2021.
- You also can ring the COVID Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 (8am to 8pm 7 days a week) and make a booking over the phone. A carer or relative can book a vaccination on your behalf. Translation services are available if you need them. Booking your vaccination over the phone will take around 15 minutes.
It’s a good idea to have your National Health Index (NHI) number ready when you book – to make the booking process quicker. You’ll find your NHI number on a prescription or prescription receipt, x-ray or test result, or a letter from the hospital.
The next age band is people in Group 4 aged 55 and over – bookings for this age band will open on Wednesday 11th August 2021.
Anyone in the wider population can also visit Book My Vaccine and register their details. “Once bookings are open for your age group you will be sent an email or text letting you know it’s time to reserve your spot,” says Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
You can only apply for an early COVID-19 vaccine if you have an urgent need to travel outside of New Zealand. This is only for compassionate reasons or those of national significance. You’ll need to meet specific criteria.
What to do if you feel unwell
Stay home if you’re unwell. Don’t go to work or school. Don’t socialise.
Call your medical practice or Healthline (0800 35 85 453) if you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms. This is to check if you fit the criteria and need to get tested for COVID-19.
The symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- a new or worsening cough;
- shortness of breath;
- a sore throat;
- sneezing and a runny nose; or
- a temporary loss of smell.
Some people may present with less typical symptoms such as only: fever, diarrhoea, headache, myalgia (muscle pain), nausea or vomiting, or confusion or irritability.
Symptoms can take up to 14 days to show after a person has been infected. The virus can be passed onto others before someone knows they have it – from up to two days before symptoms develop.
How to get tested for COVID-19
You can be tested for COVID-19 at most general practices, an after hours urgent care facility or a community-based assessment centre (CBAC).
You can attend a community-based assessment centre if your medical practice does not provide testing or if you are not registered with a medical practice team. You do not need an appointment to attend a community based assessment centre.
Tip: You can also use the NZ COVID Tracer app to find your nearest testing centre. Open the Dashboard and tap the ‘Learn more’ tile. Then tap the ‘Find a testing location’ link to bring up Healthpoint’s list of testing centres.
Testing is free, unless you require a test for travel overseas. You must contact a medical practice if you need a COVID-19 test to travel overseas.
Stay informed from reliable sources about COVID-19
- Visit your local DHB website for important hospital and health hub information, such as visitor restrictions, parking and shuttle services.
- Visit your local council website for information on their essential services (such as rubbish and recycling collection or public transport) and also upcoming rates payments.
Local public health response to novel coronavirus COVID-19
Community and Public Health stood up their Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in just two hours in late January 2020 in response to COVID-19 with staff ceasing ‘business as usual’ work. Every effort, hour and individual has been focused on the response since then, and will likely be the last organisation to wind down. Our staff have been involved in the local COVID-19 response in many ‘behind the scenes’ ways across Canterbury, South Canterbury, West Coast and the Chatham Islands.