Due to winter illnesses putting pressure on primary care providers, the Ministry of Health would like to remind employers that they can consider the text messages it sends to people positive with COVID-19 and their household contacts, as proof of needing time off work.
Texts from 2328 or 2648 are sent to a COVID-19 positive person and any household contacts they identify. The first text confirms their COVID-19 positive test and the need to isolate, and the second confirms they can leave isolation and return to work if they feel well. Household contacts receive a text saying they are free to leave isolation if their day 7 RAT test is negative.
Employers needing proof of staff taking time off work due to COVID-19 illness, or being the household contact, can use these text messages as reliable evidence rather than asking for a traditional GP ‘medical certificate’, which creates additional work for general practice at a particularly busy time of year.
For more information, see COVID-19: Isolating from others.