If you’re 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’re helping keep your community safe. Testing is always free for everyone.
- a new or worsening cough
- a fever of at least 38°C
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- sneezing and runny nose
- temporary loss of smell.
These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. The symptoms are similar to 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.
Less common symptoms
Some people may also have less common symptoms such as only:
- muscle pain
- nausea and vomiting
- confusion and irritability.
If you have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor, Healthline or your iwi health provider.
Time for symptoms to appear
We do not yet know how long symptoms take to show after a person has been infected, but current World Health Organization assessments suggest that it’s 2 to 10 days.
When to stay home
Staying at home if you’re sick is the best thing you can do to stop any future spread of COVID-19.
If you’re feeling unwell, it’s critical you stay at home and recover.
If you’re waiting for COVID-19 test results, and have been told you need to self-isolate, 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.
Limit contact with others you live with
Housemates with symptoms
If somebody you live with develops cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms they should call their regular health professional.
If they do not have a regular health professional they can call Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453.
If you’re unwell, we recommend not sharing a bed with others. Speak with your family and whānau about sleeping arrangements. Avoid sleeping in a common area until you’re feeling better.
Aim to stay in a well-ventilated room with a window that can be opened. Try to keep the window open as much as possible to enable ventilation and airflow as this will help to keep clean air moving through your room.
Shared living rooms
Minimise the time you spend in shared spaces such as bathrooms, kitchens and sitting rooms as much as possible and keep shared spaces clean and well ventilated.
Do not have visitors in your home
While you’re unwell, do not invite or allow social visitors, such as friends, family and whānau, to enter your home. If you want to speak to someone who is not a member of your household, use the phone or other means of contact.
It's okay for friends, family, whānau or delivery drivers to drop off food and supplies. Ask them to leave items at the door.
We recommend also avoiding visiting others if you’re unwell. Stay home until you have fully recovered.
Items you should not share
Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups or eating utensils with other people in your home. After using these items, we recommend washing them thoroughly with soap and water, putting them in the dishwasher for cleaning, or washing them in the sink.
Use your own toothbrushes, towels, washcloths or bed linen.
Do not share food and drinks. Someone in your home can prepare your food, but we recommend not preparing food for others. Wash your clothing and dishes separate to others in your home.
Make sure you use separate towels from other people in your house, both for drying yourself after bathing or showering and for hand-hygiene purposes. Ask your family and whānau or the people you live with to use their own towels and keep them separate.
We recommend doing your own laundry.
Dirty laundry that has been in contact with a sick person can be washed with other people’s items.
Do not shake dirty laundry. This minimises the possibility of dispersing the virus. It may be easier for someone else to fold and put away clean laundry items such as towels and tea towels. They can also provide a supply of laundry items to you.
If you do not have a washing machine, wait until you’re no longer unwell before taking your laundry to a laundrette.
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.
Your employer can apply for the payment if you are not able to be at work, cannot work from home and have advised them that:
- you have COVID-19 and must self-isolate until a medical practitioner advises you can leave self-isolation
- you have been directed to self-isolate, or are the parent or caregiver of a dependant who has been directed to self-isolate, by a Medical Officer of Health (a Medical Officer of Health is defined in the Health Act 1956)
- you are identified as a close contact of someone who has COVID-19, and you have been advised to self-isolate by a medical practitioner or through the National Contact Tracing process
- you are the parent or caregiver of a dependant who has been advised to self-isolate by a medical practitioner or through the National Contact Tracing process, or
- you are, or you have household members who are, most at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 I(as defined in official Government public health guidance), and have been advised by a medical practitioner to self-isolate.
The COVID-19 Leave Support is paid as a lump sum, calculated to cover 2 weeks. Your employer can re-apply for you if you still qualify after 2 weeks.
Who is eligible for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme, and how employers can apply (external link)
The criteria for getting the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme changed at 9am on 9 February 2021. If your employer applied before this time, you need to meet the old criteria.
If you need to miss work to stay home while waiting on a COVID-19 test result and cannot work from home, your employer could apply for the COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment.
COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment
If you’re staying at home because you’re waiting on a COVID-19 test result and you cannot work from home, your employer could apply for the COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment. This payment is also available to self-employed people.
The payment helps businesses keep paying employees who:
- cannot work from home, and
- need to stay at home while waiting on a COVID-19 test result.
This must be in line with public health guidance (external link)
A one-off payment of $350 is available for each employee. Your employer can apply for it once for you in any 30-day period. However, they can apply for it again if a health official or doctor tells you to get another test.
The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is still available for businesses to help pay employees who need to self-isolate for other reasons, and cannot work from home.