COVID-19: Primary care

Information to manage suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in primary care.

Last updated: 21 September 2022

On this page:

See also:

Health workers can download the Āwhina app to stay up-to-date on the latest information relevant to COVID-19 and the health and disability sector.


Primary Care Quick Reference Guide

The Primary Care Quick Reference Guide is a summary of information for community healthcare providers involved in assessing and managing undifferentiated respiratory illness and queries regarding COVID-19 risk and need for testing (including general practice, community pharmacy, Hauora Maori and urgent care providers).

Please note this document is currently under review.


Testing Operational Guidance for General Practice

People presenting to GPs with symptoms should receive a clinical assessment regardless of the test provided (RAT or PCR). The appropriate type of test will depend on the individual and their personal circumstances and those of their household/whānau, and will need to be guided by clinical discretion. The testing principles provided in this guidance are intended to guide general practices.


Wellness tips for primary care providers and workers

To protect your staff, patients and clients from the spread of respiratory infections, and recognising COVID-19 is still circulating, it is important that you follow these infection prevention measures and that you support your staff to do the same.

The more of layers of protection you put in place – such as stay home if sick, vaccination, mask wearing and ventilation – the harder it will be for infections to spread.

Staff should stay at home if they are unwell or have symptoms of COVID-19

It is important that people have time to recover from illness and are fit for work. For health advice, encourage staff to call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or their doctor. 

Support staff to have their vaccinations against infectious diseases

Such as:

  • influenza
  • measles, mumps and rubella
  • chicken pox
  • whooping cough (pertussis)
  • pneumococcal diseases
  • COVID-19.

You should also provide flexibility for your staff to get tested for COVID-19 during work time. 

Encourage staff to maintain good hand hygiene

They should be washing and drying their hands thoroughly or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser. They should do this regularly and at key times during care as described in the 5 moments of hand hygiene. It is also important to enable patients and clients to be able to clean their hands on arrival at your premises.

Ensure staff use Standard and Transmission-based Precautions for all patient and client care

This includes prompt assessment and isolation of anyone who has a transmissible respiratory infection.

Support staff to choose the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) to wear

They should choose the correct PPE for any task they need to undertake by using the Ministry of Health’s Infection Prevention and Control guidance for personal protective equipment (PPE) selection and risk assessment advice.

Keep shared spaces clean

Ensure regular cleaning of your premises, paying special attention to high-touch surfaces. 

Provide visible guidance for patients and clients

This will remind them of what they can or need to do to keep themselves protected from infections while sitting in the waiting room. 

Remind staff of the safe behaviours and healthy habits we’ve learned through our experience of COVID-19

  • Sneeze or cough into your elbow or a tissue. Avoid touching your face, dispose of tissues in a waste bin and wash or sanitise your hands. This will prevent the risk of spreading COVID-19 and other viruses such as the common cold or flu.
  • Keep patient/client appointment rooms and shared spaces well ventilated. Open windows and doors to increase fresh air. If mechanical ventilation is used, ensure the ventilation system is regularly maintained.
  • Regularly clean patient/client areas, including patient equipment after every patient/client use.

For community guidance, visit the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

In this section

Back to top