Hospital visiting guidelines updated 16 September 2022: Hospital visitors must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are not acceptable.  See our COVID-19 page for general COVID-19 advice, detailed hospital visiting guidelines and COVID-19 tests.

See for info on vaccinations.

Last updated:
16 September 2022

Fewer visitor restrictions now apply

For visitors to all facilities effective from 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

West Coasters urged to ‘Have a safe-as summer’

Tuesday 20 December 2022Health news4 minutes to read

West Coasters are being urged to ‘Have a safe-as summer’ by planning ahead before the summer holidays begin especially as COVID-19 case numbers are on the rise across the motu.

“If you are heading away, make sure you pack an extended supply of your regular medications. If you’re going to need a repeat prescription while away, get it sorted before your practice closes for the break and you leave town,” says Dr Graham Roper, Te Whatu Ora Chief Medical Officer for the West Coast.

“Now is also a good time to make sure that you have plans in place in case you or someone in your whānau tests positive for COVID-19 over the holidays. Consider packing rapid antigen tests (RATs) – five tests per family member is all that’s needed.”

Self-testing with a RAT is still a very effective way of finding out if you have COVID-19 and is easy to do. You can get free RATs from a range of locations, including collection sites, some marae and some pharmacies. You can search here for the closest place to get a test. RAT collection sites on the West Coast are open until 23 December.

Health guidance for the summer can be found here and maintaining good hygiene practices, such as those listed below, is key. And remember to stay up to date with your vaccinations.

  • Maintain physical distancing when out and about, especially in crowded places.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Wash and dry your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser.
  • Remember to cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Clean ‘high touch’ surfaces and objects regularly.
  • Wear a face mask and try and keep one with you at all times.

Current face mask mandates for visitors in healthcare settings also remain in place. You can collect face masks for free when collecting RATs. You can also order them with your RATs through this website:

“If you catch COVID-19 on holiday, consider using antiviral medication, which is free for anyone who fits the eligibility criteria,” says Dr Roper.

“Antiviral COVID-19 medications help your body fight the virus thereby preventing you from becoming very unwell. They reduce the amount of the virus in your body, so you don’t get as sick and you’re less likely to have to go to hospital.”

Many pharmacies provide antivirals without a prescription, or your usual healthcare provider can write you a prescription for a pharmacy to fill. COVID-19 antiviral medicines are free for eligible people. Find out more at

“This summer, wherever your holidays take you around Aotearoa New Zealand, remember that you can still get health advice whenever you need it,” says Dr Roper.

If you are injured or experiencing severe symptoms, it’s critical that you call 111.

  • If you are feeling unwell with any condition, you can phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free health advice 24/7 or your general practice team to discuss your situation and symptoms rather than visiting in person. This will ensure that you get to access appropriate treatment and medication to help you stay well, even if you are at home isolating.
  • For COVID-19 health advice please call 0800 358 5453.
  • If you have a mild illness, you can check the Te Whatu Ora | Te Tai o Poutini West Coast or HealthInfo websites for more information on what to do or where to go if you are unsure.
  • If you’re worried about yourself, or someone in your whānau who has a respiratory illness see the checklist here of symptoms to watch out for, and when you should seek medical advice.
  • If you are on holiday on the West Coast and need to see a doctor, contact details and locations for our general practices are available here.
  • More information about staying COVID-safe this summer can be found here.



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Page last updated: 20 December 2022

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