Stay home if you are sick

Staying at home if you are sick is one way to stop any possible spread of COVID-19.

If you are sick

If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice about getting tested.

By getting a test, you are helping keep your community safe. Testing is always free for everyone.

Staying at home if you are sick is one way to stop any possible spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms can include one or more of the following:

  • a new or worsening cough
  • sneezing and runny nose
  • a fever
  • temporary loss of smell or altered sense of taste
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath.

Less common symptoms may include:

  • diarrhoea
  • headache
  • muscle pain or body aches
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • malaise — a general feeling of discomfort, illness or unease
  • chest pain
  • abdominal pain
  • joint pain
  • confusion or irritability.

These less common symptoms almost always occur with one or more of the common symptoms.

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. The symptoms are like other illnesses that are much more common, such as colds and flu.

Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

If you have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor, Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or your iwi health provider.

Time for symptoms to appear

Symptoms tend to arise around 2 to 5 days after a person is infected, but symptoms can take up to 14 days to show. A person with COVID-19 can pass it on to others from up to 2 days before showing symptoms.

Sometimes people may have COVID-19, but not have any symptoms.

If you are told to self-isolate

You will need to self-isolate while you wait for a negative result from a COVID-19 test. You may also be told to isolate if you are a contact of someone who has COVID-19. If you are told to self-isolate by a health official, you legally must do so immediately.

Self-isolation means staying at home and taking common-sense precautions to avoid close contact with those you live with.

What it means to self-isolate at home

  • Do not go to work or school.
  • Limit contact with others you live with — for example, sleep by yourself and limit the time you spend in shared spaces.
  • Do not share items with others in your household — for example, dishes, toothbrushes, and towels.
  • Do your own laundry.
  • Do not have visitors in your home.
  • Try not to leave your house if you have symptoms. If you need to, stay at least 2 metres away from others. We recommend you wear a face covering.
  • If you need food, prescriptions or essential items get friends or family to leave them on your doorstep, or get supplies delivered.

Guidance on self-isolation at home | (external link)

If you need care while self-isolating

Essential personal care services, such as toileting, washing and feeding, can continue.

If you are identified as a contact of a case, carers must use good hand hygiene and physical distancing of 2 metres when possible. If this is not possible, they must wear personal protection equipment like disposable gloves and masks.

If you are unable to self-isolate at home

If you are unable to self-isolate at home, your local public health official can help determine where you are best able to self-isolate safely. This may be in a managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility. These facilities are in hotels in different locations across New Zealand.

Households with COVID-19 waste — confirmed or suspected

You legally must put contaminated waste items such as tissues or wet wipes into a separate tied or sealed bag. This bag can then go into the general household waste bag or bin.

If you do not have a kerbside service, we recommend still putting all infected waste in a separate tied or sealed bag. Then put that bag into a general household waste bag. Check your local council website for further guidance on disposal options in your area.

Financial support

COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment

If you are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test, it is important you stay home until you get a negative result.

If you cannot work from home, your employer can apply for the COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment for you so you can continue to get paid.

More information about COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment

COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

If you need to self-isolate and you cannot work from home, your employer (or you if you are self-employed) can apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme.

More information about COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

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