COVID-19: Advice for cases

What to expect if you test positive for COVID-19.

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Finding out you are a COVID-19 case

If you test positive for COVID-19 your doctor or a health professional will be in contact with you.  They will explain what it means to have COVID-19 and what you are required to do.

You will need to provide details of where you have been recently and who you have seen to help prevent COVID-19 spreading.

Please ensure you have your phone with you at all time and answer any calls. From this point on, stay at home or in your accommodation, unless you are otherwise instructed by the health team.

If you need urgent medical help or are having difficulties breathing, call 111 immediately. Tell them you have COVID-19 when you ring.

Isolating from others

Everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and everyone who lives with them and their close contacts will need to isolate from the community to help stop the spread of the virus.

There are two ways to isolate: either at home (or in suitable alternative accommodation), or in a managed isolation facility. If you are very unwell, you will receive hospital care.

How long you need to isolate

Positive cases:

  • The isolation period for fully vaccinated COVID-19 cases in the community is at least 10 days, including 72 hours symptom-free.
  • The isolation period for partially vaccinated or unvaccinated COVID-19 cases is at least 14 days, including 72 hours symptom-free.
  • Others in the household will need to remain at home while you and anyone else in your household who tests positive are isolating. Once the last case has been released from isolation, the remaining members of the household will have to isolate for a further 10 days. This means they will need to isolate for longer than you.

Close contacts:

  • The isolation period for close contacts who are fully vaccinated is 7 days. They will need to be tested immediately and on day 5. 
  • The isolation period for close contacts who are partially vaccinated or not vaccinated is 10 days. They will need to be tested immediately, on day 5 and on day 8.

To qualify as fully vaccinated, it needs to be 7 days or more since you had your second dose of the vaccine.

What to do when isolating 

  • Stay at home or in your accommodation. 
  • Only exercise at home or in your garden
  • Get supplies of food/kai and medicine by asking your whanau and friends to shop for you, or by ordering supplies online if possible. Identify a safe drop-off point outside the house for them to leave supplies.
    • If you need assistance, the Ministry of Social Development has information about where you can go for services and support, what you can get help with, and contact information. Visit the Ministry of Social Development website.
  • Follow the advice of your health care provider. 

What not to do when isolating

  • Don’t have visitors, except people providing essential care to you or someone in the household
  • Don’t leave your home (except if seeking urgent medical care). So, don’t go out to get food/kai or medicine, don’t go to work, school or public places and don’t go on public transport or using taxis
  • Don’t get vaccinated until you have recovered. If you have a vaccination appointment scheduled either ring the booking line or go online to change your appointment.

Tips for keeping your whānau safe

To help reduce the spread of germs, if possible, you should:  

  • Stay away from others in your home – stay out of rooms where others are and do not share a bed if possible. Do not prepare food for others.
  • Wear a face mask or face covering. It is recommended each household member has a minimum of two face coverings, and that each is washed at the end of the day.
  • As much as possible, open windows and doors to allow air to flow through your house.
  • Wipe down surfaces used by others like bathroom taps and kitchen benches with soap, water and a cloth. Do not share dishes and cutlery, towels and pillows. Please do your own laundry.
  • Wash your hands often and cough or sneeze into an elbow or a tissue.

Care in the community

Most people with COVID-19 particularly those who are fully vaccinated, are likely to have a mild to moderate viral illness but will fully recover at home or in suitable alternative accommodation.  

Care in the community is where people are supported by local care providers to ensure their health, welfare and wellbeing needs are met while they are recovering from COVID-19.

You will be provided a contact person who will contact you often to make sure that you and your whānau are safe and supported, and given a telephone number for 24 hour health support.

Key points of contacts for health support may differ across the country. Your point of contact may be an individual or a team from your general practice, primary care provider or from a local community health service.

Your contact person will tell you how often they plan to call you to check on how you are going.

If you need medication, contact your GP or your local community pharmacy who will make arrangements for your medication to be safely delivered to your home.

Health, welfare and wellbeing checks

Within the first 24 hours of getting your test result

Someone will be in touch to let you know you have tested positive, and to provide support and information. Your immediate health, welfare and wellbeing needs will be discussed.

Within the first 48 hours of getting your test result

You’ll receive a health pack with all the information you need along with any required health equipment to help you keep track of your recovery. This may include things like a pulse oximeter if you need one.

From 48 hours onwards

The frequency of the health checks you will receive over the time you are self-isolating will vary, depending on your symptoms and recovery.

If you are at low risk of experiencing severe COVID-19 infection and have mild symptoms, you are likely to receive a virtual health check every second day.

If you have moderate symptoms or are considered more at risk, you will likely receive a daily virtual health check from your health provider.

If you need urgent medical help or are having difficulties breathing, call 111 immediately. Tell them you have COVID-19 when you call.

Everyone else in your home will need to be tested regularly to check whether they have a COVID-19 infection. You will be advised when, how and where this needs to be done.

10-14 days 

You will have your final health assessment by a medical practitioner at 10 to 14 days (the timing depends on if you are vaccinated).

You will need to be free of COVID-19 symptoms for the 72 hours prior to your release date and continue to have no symptoms. If approved, you will be able to leave your house the next day. 

You do not need to be tested. If you did, the result would likely show as positive but that doesn’t mean you are infectious.

Beyond 10-14 days

Anyone you live with will need to stay home for the entire time you (and anyone else in your household who tests positive) are isolating. Once the last case has been released from isolation, the remaining members of the household will have a further period of 10 days in isolation. This means they will need to isolate for longer than you.

Care in a Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) facility

Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) facilities are hotels around New Zealand where you can isolate for free together with your household.

You may go into a MIQ facility to ensure your health and welfare needs are met and to prevent the risk of spreading COVID-19 in your whānau and community. 

At the facility

On arrival, you will be provided with a ‘welcome pack’ with information about what to expect during your stay.

You will be provided with three meals a day and snacks, Wi-Fi, laundry services and basic toiletries and refreshments, so you don’t need to leave to get supplies. There is no cost to you for these services or the care that you receive.

Your care

Quarantine facility staff will closely monitor your physical and mental health during your stay. These staff are well-trained on cleaning and hygiene procedures to keep the disease isolated and have protective equipment to do this safely.

A dedicated health team will be caring for you, and they will confirm your treatment details with you on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, people with COVID-19 become very unwell and need to be admitted to hospital. In this case, the hospital will take the steps needed to isolate you while giving you the medical care you need.

Returning home from a quarantine facility

The health team that cares for you will determine when you can return home and resume your everyday activities. They will release you when there is confidence you are no longer infectious.

If you have a mild to moderate illness that didn’t require hospital care, this will be at least 10 to 14 days after the onset of your symptoms, and after you have had no symptoms from this illness for the previous 72 hours.

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