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Cantabrians Urged To ‘have A Safe-as Summer’

Now that summer’s here, it’s important to be prepared and understand how COVID- 19 might affect your holiday break.

“We want you to have a a safe as summer this year,” says Becky Hickmott, Waitaha Senior Responsible Officer for System Pressures, Te Whatu Ora.

“Please do not travel or take part in events or activities if you are sick, have symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19.”

“If you’re going to be away from home, consider taking a kit that contains Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs), hand sanitiser, masks or face coverings, and your usual medications. Remember RAT tests can be ordered for FREE.”

“It's also really important to have a plan in place if you or any members of your family become infected with COVID-19, including how to get home safely to isolate.”

Current face mask mandates for visitors in healthcare settings remain in place. You can collect face masks for free when collecting RATs. You can also order them with your RATs through this website: requestrats.covid19.health.nz.

“If you catch COVID-19 on holiday consider using antiviral medication, which is free for those of you who fit the eligibility criteria,” says Becky Hickmott.

“Antiviral COVID-19 medications help your body fight the virus thereby preventing you from becoming very unwell. They reduce the amount of the virus in your body, so you don’t get as sick and you’re less likely to have to go to hospital.”

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Many pharmacies provide antivirals without a prescription, or your usual healthcare provider can write you a prescription for a pharmacy to fill. COVID-19 antiviral medicines are free for eligible people. Find out more at COVID19.health.nz

And remember if your summer of fun turns to a summer of glum, you can call Healthline 24/7 for care around the clock.

Before you head off on holiday be sure to load Healthline’s number into your mobile phone, because when your GP’s doors are closed and the lights are out a team of staff are ready to take your call – any time of day or night, including public holidays.

You can also call Healthline if you’re not sure where to go, they know what’s open around the motu. Phone 0800 611 116 - calls are answered 24/7 and they have translators available.

If you are heading away, make sure you pack an extended supply of your regular medications. If you’re going to need a repeat prescription while away, get it sorted before the practice closes for the break and you leave town.

Emergency Departments (ED) at hospitals throughout New Zealand often run at capacity, especially over the festive season. Keep EDs free for those who need emergency care. In a life-threatening emergency, call 111.

You might also like to try a virtual consultation with a New Zealand registered health practitioner without seeing them in person. This is also called a virtual consult or telehealth. You can find a list of some of these virtual care providers here.

Our resources about caring for COVID-19 positive people in the community will help you make a plan for what to do if you test positive, including if you are on holiday. If you are isolating at home or away, you will have a dedicated contact person check up on you and make sure that you and your whānau are safe.

People with disabilities can find further information about COVID-19 and useful services on the Unite against COVID-19 website

For wellbeing support, free call or text 1737 any time, 24 hours a day. You can also call Lifeline at 0800 543354 or text HELP at 4357. Visit the All Sorts website to find ways to boost your wellbeing this summer.

If you aren’t already enrolled with a general practice team use our handy general practice finder map.

Information for visitors to Christchurch

If you get sick after arriving in Christchurch, it is important to seek health advice by calling Healthline for free at 0800 611 116. This is available at any time and you can ask for a translator.

If you need to see a doctor, you can visit one of the urgent care practices:

  • 24-Hour Surgery – 401 Madras Street. Open every day, 24/7. Ph 03 365 7777
  • Moorhouse Medical – 3 Pilgrim Place. See reduced hours here. Ph 03 365 7900
  • Riccarton Clinic – 4 Yaldhurst Road. Open 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week. Ph 03 343 3661.

Learn more about Urgent Care clinics on the Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury website.

Trusted health advice

You can also visit our HealthInfo website or your community pharmacy for health advice.

HealthInfo is a health information website that has information specific to Canterbury. It is written and approved by local doctors, practice nurses, hospital clinicians, and other healthcare professionals and features a mix of health information, fact sheets on different topics, and descriptions of local health services.

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