Canterbury Health Services operates a ‘no mask, no entry’ policy

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Canterbury district hospitals and health centers are banning visitors who are not wearing masks, in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Christchurch Hospital.
Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

Even those with an exemption will not be allowed to visit patients in hospitals or health centers without a mask.

Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury said a “significant proportion of the workforce” was sick or caring for whānau at home. Respiratory diseases and Covid-19 had a much bigger impact, earlier in the winter than usual, in hospitals and primary care, he said.

Canterbury/West Coast has 115 hospitalized Covid-19 patients.

To protect vulnerable patients, visitation restrictions have been tightened and a ‘no mask, no entry’ policy has been enforced.

Children under the age of 16 will not be admitted to Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury facilities unless the visit is pre-arranged for humanitarian reasons.

“This is because medical masks are less likely to fit under 16s well and children are less likely to be able to wear them properly for the duration of a visit,” said Becky Hickmott, controller of incident management for the Omicron outbreak.

“Anyone who appears to be under 16, but isn’t, should bring photo ID as proof of age.”

Northland hospitals have also taken action to manage Covid-19 outbreaks.

Dargaville Hospital closed its general visitor service yesterday after a number of patients tested positive for coronavirus. Northland DHB reminded people not to go to hospital if unwell and that visitors should wear a mask.

Last Thursday, Whangārei Hospital temporarily closed Ward 1 to visitors after some patients tested positive.

See Canterbury Hospital Services Visitor Guidelines here.

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