There is still a heightened risk to vulnerable people in hospital, so we recommend all people to continue wearing a mask when visiting any of our facilities and follow other advice designed to keep patients, staff and visitors safe.  See our COVID-19 page for general COVID-19 advice, detailed hospital visiting guidelines and COVID-19 tests.

See West Coast COVID-19 vaccination clinics for info on vaccinations.

Last updated:
16 September 2022

Fewer visitor restrictions now apply

For visitors to all facilities (effective from and last updated on 16 September 2022)

Some visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Te Tai o Poutini West Coast health facilities remain in place, but we have relaxed others.

There is still a heightened risk to vulnerable people in hospital and so people must continue to wear a mask when visiting any of our facilities and follow other advice designed to keep patients, staff and other visitors safe.

Kia whakahaumaru te whānau, me ngā iwi katoa – this is to keep everybody safe:

  • Visitors or support people must not visit our facilities if they are unwell. Do not visit if you have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and haven’t completed your isolation period.
  • Patients in single rooms may have more than one visitor while patients in multi-bed rooms can have one visitor only per patient to ensure there is no overcrowding.
  • People can have one or two support people to accompany them to outpatients appointments.
  • Women in labour in a birthing suite, in Te Nīkau Hospital’s Maternity Ward and in Buller’s Kawatiri Maternity Unit can have the usual support people, subject to space, for the duration of their stay in our facilities.
  • Eating or drinking at the bedside is at the discretion of the Clinical Nurse Manager. Visitors must not eat or drink in multibed rooms because of the increased risk when multiple people remove their mask in the same space.
  • Hand sanitiser is available and must be used.

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as our staff work hard to protect and care for some of the most vulnerable in our community.

Mask wearing

  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all sites, except in counselling, mental health and addiction services where it’s on a case-by-case agreement with patients. Masks will be provided if you don’t have one. In higher-risk environments, people, including young children, may not be able to visit if they cannot wear a mask.
  • Any member of the public with a mask exemption is welcome in all our facilities when attending to receive health care and *treatment. Please show your mask exemption card and appointment letter to staff at the entrance. *Treatment includes coming into the Emergency Department, outpatient appointments, surgery or a procedure.

Visiting patients with COVID-19

  • People are able to visit patients who have COVID-19 but they must wear an N95 mask – this will be provided if you don’t have one.
  • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, Facetime, Zoom, WhatsApp etc where visits aren’t possible.

You must NOT visit our facilities if you

  • are COVID-19 positive
  • are unwell. Please stay home if you have a tummy bug or cold or flu/COVID-19-like symptoms (even if you’ve tested negative for COVID-19).

Te Whatu Ora West Coast Aged Residential Care facilities

Visitors are welcome at our Aged Care Residential facilities, subject to the space available. All visitors must wear a surgical mask.

More COVID-19 information

Surgical masks introduced for all DHB staff and visitors

Monday 24 January 2022Health news4 minutes to read

Under the RED setting, it’s business as usual with surgery and outpatient appointments going ahead, and only minor changes expected for visiting hours – these will be finalised today and posted on West Coast DHB’s website.

Senior Responsible Officer for COVID-19 for the West Coast, Philip Wheble, said while there’s no cases of Omicron in the community, the key change for anyone entering any DHB facility today will be the need to wear a paper surgical/medical mask.

“We know these paper masks are more effective than a fabric mask or cloth face covering, and this is something we can all do to help protect our vulnerable patients and ourselves.

“We ask that people pay particular attention to physical distancing as well. In practice that means staying at least one metre away from people you don’t know,” Mr Wheble said.

West Coast DHB is also advising all its staff (clinical and non-clinical) to wear surgical masks, with N-95s for clinical staff in certain areas.

Boosters are key to provide maximum protection

If it’s four or more months since you had your second dose, please prioritise getting a booster as soon as possible. Boosters provide a significantly higher level of protection than two doses alone. People aged over 60 who have had their booster are around 45 times less likely to be hospitalised than an unvaccinated person of the same age.

You can book at Many clinics are taking walk-ins, please note that demand is high and there may be a wait. Local clinic information, including opening hours is available at

Vaccinations are now available for children aged five and over at selected clinics – these are outlined at

While we have no cases of Omicron on the West Coast at present we need to stick to the rules: wearing a mask every time you go out and are with people outside your own household; keeping track of where you’ve been using the QR codes provided and having Bluetooth turned on, so you receive alerts, and using your MyVaccinePass when required.

For more information about what to do at Red, the Unite against COVID-19 ( website has useful information on being prepared to self-isolate at home if someone in your household tests positive.

“Now’s the time to make a plan, make sure everyone knows it, and ensure you have everything you need at home to be self-sufficient for at least a couple of weeks,” Mr Wheble said. “And please check in with your neighbours, people who live alone and those with disabilities to see how they are doing.

“It’s important to remember that with Omicron, most people who are fully vaccinated (two doses + a booster) they will have a mild illness and be able to recover safely at home. Our focus will be on supporting those who are more vulnerable and have underlying health conditions.

The planning checklist every household should complete can be found here and the West Coast Care in the Community web pages provide useful information and advice on what to consider when isolating at home with COVID-19.


Tips for wearing a surgical/paper mask:


  • Wash or sanitise your hands before handling your mask
  • Hold the mask by the straps
  • Fan it out to cover the mouth, chin and nose
  • Disposable surgical masks are worn with the blue/coloured side facing outwards
  • Ensure the stiff strip is at the top and moulds comfortably over the bridge of your nose
  • Securely hook the elastic straps directly over your ears – do not create a figure eight with the straps as this creates air gaps.


  • Play with, or touch your mask unnecessarily
  • Let anyone else touch or wear your mask
  • Leave your mask lying around or on a table

Change your mask

  • If it becomes moist or soiled
  • After eating
  • Used and soiled surgical masks should be disposed of in the regular (landfill) rubbish bin after cutting the elastic straps.


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Page last updated: 23 August 2023

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