How to self-isolate and minimise risk to others

Avoiding COVID-19 means taking simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible.

Self-isolation is one of the most effective ways we have of keeping individuals, families and our communities safe and healthy and stopping the spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health says.

We know there have been a number of calls to Healthline on self-isolation – we have up-to-date information on our website.

Every situation is different, but at its most basic point it means staying at home if you’re sick, or if you might have been in contact with the virus.

It means taking simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible. You can go outside, but you need to limit your contact with others

We consider ‘close contact’ to occur in any situation where you have face-to-face contact closer than two metres for more than 15 minutes.

The majority of people who will need to stay at home will be healthy.

You can still enjoy physical exercise (but not gyms), gardening, you may be able to arrange with your employer to work from home.

You should avoid having visitors to your home. But it’s okay for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food and supplies.

Don’t use public transport, taxis or similar transport methods during your 14-day period. You can only use public transport after you arrive in New Zealand for the sole purpose of returning to your home, but cannot use it after that. You can use your own transport means (car, bike etc) whenever you wish.

You can live with others during your 14 days, but you need to avoid close contact with them.

Minimise the time you spend in shared spaces such as bathrooms, kitchens and sitting rooms as much as possible and keep shared spaces well ventilated. Clean surfaces after you use them and try to avoid touching them after you have cleaned them.

Don’t share beds, linen or food and clean regularly.

Wash your hands often; cover your coughs and sneezes.

HEALTHLINE

Healthline faces huge pressure with four times their usual call numbers from the same time last year – 4500 a day.

Actions taken to address this include – prioritising callers with health issues; bringing in another 50 nurses; additional support from Ambulance and Plunketline; referral to separate call centre for for self isolation calls; referring callers to an online form to register for self isolation (addition to cards at the airport); and additional clinical workforce seconded from DHBs and primary care.

Many calls are from people wanting general information about COVIC-19, which means people needing clinical advice are waiting longer.

People with symptoms of COVID-19 are reminded to call Healthline for advice and direction, and to call ahead before arriving at their GP or hospital for assessment.

  • Don’t call Healthline for travel advice. Access the Safetravel website https://safetravel.govt.nz/contact
  • Don’t call Healthline for advice on attending events. Do call the event organiser or access the Ministry of Health website for advice.
  • Don’t call Healthline about government assistance available. Call 0800 779 997 between 8am to 1am 7 days a week or https://www.govt.nz/covid-19/

Healthline is monitoring around 3000 people in self-isolation. To date more than 7000 have completed self-isolation.

Healthline continues to add resources and people to the team. Since February 7 more than 150 additional staff have come on board, to reduce call times and provide the services. We are working with Healthline on further boosting its workforce.