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How to prepare for COVID-19

If you get COVID-19 you and your whānau have to stay home until you have recovered and no longer risk passing it onto others.

While COVID-19 is a serious illness, most people feel better within a few weeks. You will also have regular check-ins with trained health professionals, to make sure you and your whānau are safe and have essential items you need.

There are things you can do to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19, and also to prepare in case you get COVID-19, or someone in your whānau has COVID-19 and you need to stay home.

This page provides information on:

  1. How to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19
  2. What happens if you or your whānau get COVID-19
  3. How to plan for COVID-19
  4. What to tell others if you get COVID-19
  5. Key numbers to call if you’re unwell or need support

 

How to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19

Get vaccinated
Get vaccinated

Being vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and your whānau from COVID-19. Anyone in Aotearoa aged 12 and over can get vaccinated.

To be fully vaccinated you need two shots, at least 3 weeks apart.

Book your vaccine

 

Other ways to stay safe

Other things you can do to reduce the risk of getting and passing on COVID-19 include:

  • Watching out for symptoms of COVID-19, and get tested if you feel unwell
  • Wearing a face covering that covers your mouth and nose when you’re outside your home, and when you are near people you do not normally meet
  • Staying 2 metres away from others
  • Scanning in wherever you go using the COVID-19 Tracer app, or keeping a record in a diary
  • Meeting other whānau outdoors whenever possible, or let fresh air in if you need to meet someone indoors

More information on how to stay safe at our current alert level is available from Unite against COVID-19.

 

What happens if you or your whānau get COVID-19

Isolating at home

If you or someone in your whānau gets COVID-19 you will need to act quickly. You should:

  • go home and stay at home - away from others
  • tell your household to stay home
  • tell friends or family you have seen recently, and tell them to get tested and stay home too if they have symptoms
  • answer calls from Public Health - they will tell you and your household what else you need to do


Someone from Public Health will then call you to:

  • ask who lives in your home
  • explain what you and your whānau need to do, and what it means to isolate at home
  • ask those other than the case to go and get tested
  • ask about any health conditions
  • see what essential items you may need help to get 
  • ask about others you may have come into contact with. This will include people in your bubble, people you work closely with, where your children go to school or nursery, and other people your whānau see.
  • ask where you’ve been recently - you can check this using the COVID-19 tracer app, and also by looking at your calendar and bank statements

Those you live with will be close contacts, and will need to stay home too.

If it is not safe for you or your whānau to isolate at home you may go to a managed isolation facility

Download: what to expect when self-isolating (PDF) 

 

Health check-ins

When you have COVID-19 you get regular calls from a health professional. They make sure you and your whānau:

  • are safe and healthy
  • have essential items you need, such as food or medicine
  • make sure others you live with know when to get tested
  • ask you to check your breathing 3x a day using a pulse oximeter 

They will also tell you when you no longer risk passing on COVID-19 to others, and can leave your home.

Your whanau at home will also get calls about when to go for tests, checks to see if they have symptoms, and when they can finish their isolation. Their isolation is longer than yours if they are at home with you, so you may be able to resume your normal life before them.

Download: support if you get COVID-19 (PDF)

 

If you or your whānau feel unwell

If anyone in your home feels unwell and you have concerns you can ring Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or your doctor. Healthline is a free service available 24 hours a day. Interpreters are available.

If you need urgent medical help or are having difficulty breathing call 111 for an ambulance.

COVID-19 symptoms

COVID-19 symptoms

If people in your household have COVID-19 symptoms they should get another test (wear a mask to the testing centre), tell the health check team, and remain at home until they are released.

They can also call Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453. The Healthline service is available 24 hours a day, and offers support in a range of languages. If you’re having a medical emergency or difficulty breathing call 111.

 

How to plan for COVID-19

Woman at home

Being ready

Everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and their household needs to stay at home and avoid contact with others, including whānau.

Being ready is about people, conversations, connections and knowing what to do. Being ready will mean your whānau and community can help each other if needed.

Download: COVID-19 readiness checklist (PDF)

 

Get together information on your whānau  

If you get COVID-19 health staff will want to know who is in your whānau and any medical conditions they have. This will help them know what manaaki you may need, and whether it’s safer to go to an MIQ facility. Depending on your circumstances, you may stay home but your whānau members may go to a managed isolation facility.

Information to have ready on your whānau includes:

  • Names and ages
  • Medical conditions (both physical and mental health)
  • NHI numbers (you can ask your GP for this if you don’t know it)
  • Everyone’s date of birth, if you don’t know their NHI numbers
  • Medicine you take

They will also need to know more personal details for the people you live with, such as whether they have any addictions. This information will be kept confidential and will not be shared with anyone else.

 

Stock up on supplies and other essentials

While you are recovering from COVID-19 you and your household members won’t be able to leave your home. This means you can’t go to the shops or pharmacy. Others in the community can help you get these items, but they can’t come into your home.

You should prepare a list of essential items you may need while you are isolating at home, such as:

  • Food, especially canned and dried food such as soups, pasta and canned fruit and veg
  • Medicines
  • Cleaning supplies (bleach rather than alcohol based products)
  • Hygiene products
  • Baby supplies i.e. nappies, baby food
  • Pet food etc.
  • Toiletries (e.g. toilet roll, toothpaste, period products)

If possible try and stock up on these items so you’re ready if you get COVID-19 or need to isolate.

Manaaki support is available for those who may need help getting essential items while they are isolating at home.

 

When you can't stay at home

You may not be able to stay at home if you get COVID-19. If you are unwell you may need to go to hospital, while some individuals go to an MIQ facility if it’s safer for them or those they live with.

If this happens it’s important you know who will look after your children, pets, or other members of your whānau who need care.

If you’re worried about this you could talk to others in the community about care swapping arrangements.

 

Preparing your home

If you get COVID-19 there are steps you can take to reduce the chance of others in your home also getting sick. Where possible families should try to:

  1. Have the individual(s) with COVID-19 stay in a different room (e.g. sleep in a different bed, avoid being in shared rooms at the same time as others). Food can be left outside their door so they do not need to share the kitchen space.
  2. Have 2 reusable face coverings for each person in your family, and wash these each day.
  3. Cough or sneeze into their elbow or a tissue.
  4. Wash their hands often.
  5. Wipe down surfaces after using them, such as bathroom taps, kitchen benches.
  6. Avoid using the same items, such as dishes, towels, pillows etc.
  7. Avoid anyone with COVID-19 preparing food for others.
  8. Keep windows open, as fresh air makes it harder to pass on COVID-19 to others.

 

To help prepare for this you can draw a map of your home, and work out:

  • How you can keep people with COVID-19 apart from others in the home
  • Where other household members could isolate if they catch COVID-19, at home or elsewhere like MIQ
  • What shared areas (e.g. kitchen, bathroom) will need to be cleaned regularly and after they are used by the person with COVID-19
  • Where you can store cleaning products and masks so everyone can access these

  

What to tell others if you have COVID-19

Man COVID-19

Telling visitors

If you or your whānau get COVID-19 you cannot have visitors over. This is because COVID-19 spreads easily, especially indoors.

You can put this poster on your door if you want to let others know you are not having visitors in your home.

Download: I'm isolating at home poster (PDF)

 

Telling your extended whānau

Once you are told you have COVID-19 health staff will ask for a list of people you have been in contact with, such as family, neighbours, or workmates. They will contact them if they are at risk of getting COVID-19 too, and make sure they get tested and stay home if they need too.

If you want to warn your extended whānau as well about the risks of COVID-19, you should tell them to:

  1. Watch out for COVID-19 symptoms - you can text these images
  2. Get tested if they feel unwell
  3. Stay home until they get a negative test result, and no longer have symptoms

 

Telling your employer you have COVID-19

If you or someone you live with gets COVID-19 you cannot go to work.

If you need to tell your employer you have COVID-19 you can get a letter from the health team. They can also give you a letter when you are free to return to your normal life, and you can give this to your employer too.

Financial support is available if you have to miss work because of COVID-19.

Learn more about financial support

 

Key phone numbers to call if you have COVID-19

Home isolation

For emergencies

If you are very unwell or having difficulty breathing call 111. Request an ambulance and tell them you or someone in your whānau has COVID-19.

 

For general help or health advice

Call your GP or Healthline on 0800 358 5453. Healthline is a free service, available 24 hours a day. It has interpreters available if you need them.

 

If you need to talk to someone

It’s okay to not be okay. While isolating at home you may feel sad, distressed, worried, confused or anxious.

You can reach out to family or friends, or connect with the below services:

  • Text or call 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor
  • Lifeline 0800 543 345 or text HELP (4357) to talk to a trained counsellor
  • Samaritans 0800 726 666 for someone who will listen
  • Depression Helpline 0800 111 757 or text 4202 to talk to a trained counsellor
  • Asian Family Services 0800 862 342
  • Le Va 09 261 3490 – National Pacific mental health provider

Download: support numbers (PDF)

 

Talk to your family, whānau, friends and neighbours to see if they could deliver essential items to you. 

Alternatively you can:

  • Try food delivery such as supermarket home delivery, food parcels, frozen pre-prepared meals, subscription food boxes (like My Food Bag and Hello Fresh) or any other whole-food delivery service.
  • If you need food urgently, your local foodbank may be able to help. Find your local foodbank
  • You can also contact the Student Volunteer Army and ask about its grocery delivery service.

If you need help getting essential items tell the health professional that calls to check-in on you, and they may also be able to arrange additional support. 

 

Anyone can call Age Concern New Zealand on 0800 65 2105 to get advice and support.

Whānau Ora helps whānau access health and welfare services, and meet basic needs for food, accommodation, heating, internet connectivity, water and sewerage.

You can contact Whānau Ora on:

If you do not know your NHI number, you can call 0800 855 066 to find out, or ask your GP if you are registered.

 

It's helpful to have your NHI number when making a booking for our COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaka Tautua provides a free call service in Samoan, Tongan, Cook Islands, Te Reo Māori and English. You can call for free on 0800 652 535 Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm.

Visit the Work and Income website for urgent financial support and ongoing needs. You can apply for a main benefit online and check your eligibility for food assistance.

In MyMSD you can check your payments, tell MSD about changes and apply for a benefit or NZ Super: Use MyMSD.

You can also use the COVID-19 financial support tool on the Unite Against COVID-19 website to see what support is available to you: Use the financial support tool.

Talk to your family, whānau, friends and neighbours to see if they could deliver essential items to you. 

Alternatively you can:

  • Try food delivery such as supermarket home delivery, food parcels, frozen pre-prepared meals, subscription food boxes (like My Food Bag and Hello Fresh) or any other whole-food delivery service.
  • If you need food urgently, your local foodbank may be able to help. Find your local foodbank
  • You can also contact the Student Volunteer Army and ask about its grocery delivery service.

If you need help getting essential items tell the health professional that calls to check-in on you, and they may also be able to arrange additional support. 

 

Anyone can call Age Concern New Zealand on 0800 65 2105 to get advice and support.

Whānau Ora helps whānau access health and welfare services, and meet basic needs for food, accommodation, heating, internet connectivity, water and sewerage.

You can contact Whānau Ora on:

If you do not know your NHI number, you can call 0800 855 066 to find out, or ask your GP if you are registered.

 

It's helpful to have your NHI number when making a booking for our COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaka Tautua provides a free call service in Samoan, Tongan, Cook Islands, Te Reo Māori and English. You can call for free on 0800 652 535 Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm.

Visit the Work and Income website for urgent financial support and ongoing needs. You can apply for a main benefit online and check your eligibility for food assistance.

In MyMSD you can check your payments, tell MSD about changes and apply for a benefit or NZ Super: Use MyMSD.

You can also use the COVID-19 financial support tool on the Unite Against COVID-19 website to see what support is available to you: Use the financial support tool.

For health advice call Healthline for free anytime on 0800 611 116