We are at ORANGE according to the NZ COVID-19 Protection Framework.  Protect yourself and our community by getting boosted, wearing a mask when out and about and reducing contact with others. Hospital visitors don’t need a Vaccine Pass, but must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable.  See our COVID-19 page for general COVID-19 advice, detailed hospital visiting guidelines and COVID-19 tests.

See for info on vaccinations.

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: 24 January 2022

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