The Ministry of Health has changed the testing criteria for COVID-19. The criteria take into account New Zealand’s current COVID-19 status. We are currently in a position where people with an acute respiratory infection are not automatically considered a suspect case. Only those considered to have a “Higher Index of Suspicion” (HIS) will be tested as they are our greatest risk of re-introduction of COVID-19 and spread is via our border.
All people meeting the HIS criteria who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should be tested for COVID-19 and self-isolate while awaiting test results to reduce the risk to others.
If you have a cold and only have mild symptoms, please STAY AT HOME and avoid contact with other people if possible. You can speak to your pharmacist about over the counter remedies. If you feel you need to see a doctor, you can call us to book a phone consultation.
Who should get assessed for COVID-19?
People with any of the COVID-19 symptoms who are close contacts of confirmed cases, have recently travelled overseas, or been in contact with recent travellers, should get assessed.
If you have symptoms but are unsure if you have been exposed to COVID-19, please phone us to discuss your circumstances. Over winter there are many other viruses about can cause you to feel unwell and have symptoms similar to those of COVID-19.
Higher Index of Suspicion (HIS) criteria
Either, in the 14 days prior to illness onset have:
- had contact 3 with a confirmed or probable case
- had international travel
- had direct contact with a person 4 who has travelled overseas (eg Customs and Immigration staff, staff at quarantine/isolation facilities)
- worked on an international aircraft or shipping vessel
- cleaned at an international airport or maritime port in areas/conveniences visited by international arrivals, or
- any other criteria requested by the local Medical Officer of Health
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to common illnesses such as a cold or influenza. You may have one or more of the following:
- a cough
- a high temperature (at least 38˚C)
- shortness of breath
- a sore throat
- sneezing and runny nose
- temporary loss of smell.
Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.
Symptoms can take up to 14 days to show after a person has been infected. The virus can be passed onto others before they know they have it – from up to two days before symptoms develop.
If you have these symptoms call Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or your doctor immediately.
Read more about COVID-19 assessment and testing.