Covid (this variety is Omicron) is present in our communities and we want to help you to feel safe and know when to be tested for Covid and where to get the help you need.
With Omicron, most people who are fully vaccinated and otherwise healthy, will be able to self-manage at home.
Support is available and you can always talk to your GP or your usual health provider.
Booster is best
The best protection against Covid is to be fully vaccinated. This is the best thing you can do to help stop the spread of the virus and its impact on our communities. Testing is free and it is widely available at health providers across the district.
The primary vaccination course is 2 doses and is available for everyone aged 5 and over.
For those aged between 16 and 17 years, a booster is available 6 months after completion of the primary course.
If you are over the age of 18, a booster is dose available 3 months are after primary course is completed.
A second booster dose is available 6 months after the first booster for all people aged 50 years and over and health, aged care, and disability workers aged 30 years and over.
A second booster is also available for those at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
When to get a Covid test?
- If you have symptoms, even mild - sore throat, runny nose, headache, new or worsening cough. Full list of symptoms.
- If a member of your household is a confirmed Covid positive case.
- If you have to go in to hospital, you may need a Covid test.
How to access Covid testing
Most Covid testing now is by rapid antigen testing (RATs).
If you are symptomatic or a household contact, order rapid antigen tests (RATs) through the RAT requester website or by ringing 0800 222 478 (option 3) from 8am to 8pm.
You will get an order number and can collect tests for you and your household at dozens of sites across the region. Collection sites are available on HealthPoint.
Testing – RAT tests and PCR swabs - are also available at community testing sites and general practices. PCR testing is available for Healthcare workers and patients before surgery.
For individuals unable to undertake their own RAT or who might struggle to lodge their test results, general practices can do a supervised RAT test.
If you do not meet testing criteria and want to access testing kits for surveillance testing (in advance of visiting a loved one in an aged residential care facility, for example) RAT tests for this purpose can be purchased at many pharmacies and supermarkets.
Testing for international travel is not funded. It is available for a fee from some general practices, private providers, and urgent doctors. Check with your airline on timing.
WellSouth's 0800-VIRUS-19 (0800 847-8719) call centre can help you access testing. (8.30am to 4.30pm, weekdays and 8.30am to 4pm, weekends and holidays.)
Register your RAT test results
You should register your Covid test result, whether it is positive or negative, on https://mycovidrecord.health.nz/
Or call 0800 222 478, press option 3.
What happens if you test positive for Covid
If you test positive for Covid, report your result through the My Covid record. You will receive a text (within 24 hours) with an access code/link to an online assessment form. These questions will help determine what level of support and care you need. You will also be provided with information and how to access social support if you need extra assistance – food, and other necessities.
You and your household members will need to isolate for seven days from either the day your symptoms start or the day you tested positive (whichever came first). If you have new or worsening symptoms, you should seek advice from a health practitioner or Healthline on 0800 358 5453.
COVID-19 antiviral medicines are available to treat eligible people with COVID-19 at home. Please consult your GP or pharmacy to see if you are eligible. You can check the eligibility criteria here.
If your circumstances or condition changes, you can always request help and you should seek medical attention if your symptoms get worse or you have trouble breathing.
What happens if you are symptomatic and test negative for COVID-19?
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should stay at home and get tested. If you RAT result is negative but your symptoms continue or worsen, continue to stay at home and take a further test 48 hours later. Sometimes, a more sensitive PCR test may be needed. A health professional can advise you on the right test to take in your situation.
Rapid Antigen Testing
How to get help
You can talk to your general practices.
You can also call HealthLine (0800 358 5453) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In an emergency, dial 111.
Staying safe and healthy
If you have not already done so, please get your Covid vaccination. Two doses plus a booster for those over 18 and two doses for 5 to 11 year olds.
It is free for everyone over age five. Covid vaccination sites
- Wear a mask.
- Wash and sanitise your hands often.
- Get a Covid test if you are unwell and stay home until you have a negative test and you no longer have symptoms.
- If you need help, particularly if your symptoms get worse, contact your usual general practice or health provider. Or Call the Covid HealthLine 0800 358 5453.
- In an emergency, always call 111.
Supported Isolation and Quarantine
Supported Isolation and Quarantine (SIQ) facilities are also available for those with Covid who can’t safely isolate at home.
Don’t be scared, be prepared
Support and health care will be available to help you or your whānau if you are Covid positive. But there are some things you can do to be ready, just in case.
- Get any prescriptions (medicines) you might need from your GP or pharmacy. This includes cough medicines and paracetamol/ibuprofen.
- Try to have some extra groceries and other necessities on hand – enough for at least two days, ideally a week. Canned food, toilet paper, soaps and household cleaners and other items you can’t do without.
- Write down important contact numbers and keep them somewhere handy.
- Share your Covid plan with someone outside your household, so they can help you if you and your whānau need to isolate.
A pilot Long Covid Clinic has been established to help those with lasting Covid symptoms which have persisted over 12 weeks.
The pilot clinic is available until 31 December 2022 and provides multi-disciplinary team support.
You can contact your GP to discuss a referral to the programme.
Patients who have had Covid in the last 42 days are entitled to a free GP visit. Please contact your practice to book this appointment.