Updated Case Definition For COVID-19
The Ministry of Health develops the case definitions for COVID-19 based on expert advice from our COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group. The criteria are revised frequently. A full explanation of the case definition is found at www.health.govt.nz/covid19-case-definition.
Note that the ‘suspect’ case definition has now been removed, and there are now criteria (‘High Index of Suspicion’, HIS) to provide guidance around risk assessment.
The clinical symptoms consistent with COVID-19 remain the same:
Any acute respiratory infection with at least one of the following symptoms: new or worsening cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, coryza, anosmia with or without fever.
‘High Index of Suspicion’ (HIS) criteria for COVID-19 include (in the 14 days prior to illness onset):
- contact with a confirmed or probable case
- international travel
- direct contact with a person who has travelled overseas (eg Customs and Immigration staff, staff at quarantine/isolation facilities)
- worked on an international aircraft or shipping vessel
- cleaned at an international airport or maritime port in areas/conveniences visited by international arrivals, or
- any other criteria requested by the local Medical Officer of Health
Summary of changes for clinicians
- Only those meeting both the clinical and the HIS criteria need to be notified to the Medical Officer of Health.
- Only those meeting both the clinical and the HIS criteria will be asked to self-isolate while awaiting test results.
- We continue to encourage and support testing of people presenting to primary and secondary care with clinical symptoms consistent with COVID, whether they meet the HIS criteria or not. Those who don’t meet the HIS criteria are being tested for surveillance purposes. By continuing this testing, we can build a picture of how well our efforts to identify COVID-19 at the border and prevent community transmission of COVID-19 are working. This testing also means we will pick up any new community acquired cases of COVID-19 more quickly, so they can be managed to help ensure the illness doesn’t spread.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, or fall under the national swabbing criteria, you can be tested at the Rotorua Swabbing Clinic on Te Ngae Road, Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and weekends 9am - 12pm.
If you require advice please contact the national Healthline number on 0800 358 3563.
For more information please visit https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-health-advice-general-public/about-covid-19#symptoms
Who is being tested?
(1) People with any of the COVID-19 symptoms and who have risk factors for exposure to COVID-19 (see below) are those who are being prioritised for testing.
Risk factors for exposure to COVID-19
- sore throat
- shortness of breath
- head cold
- loss of sense of smell
In the last 14 days before your symptom(s) appeared, you:
- have travelled overseas
- been in contact with someone who has travelled overseas (including those who work at a quarantine facility)
- are a close contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19.
- have worked on an international aircraft of shipping vessel
(2) People symptoms consistent with COVID-19, but without any risk factors for exposure to COVID-19 may still be tested for COVID-19 for surveillance purposes to help ensure that we do not have community transmission of COVID-19 in New Zealand.
What do I do whilst I wait for my COVID-19 test result?
(1) If you have any of the COVID-19 symptoms AND any of the risk factors for exposure then it is very important that you
- are in self-isolation and follow the instructions below to protect yourself and others
- minimise contact with others in your household while you wait for the test result.
(2) If have you any of the COVID-19 symptoms but without any of the risk factors for exposure then you do not need to self-isolate while you wait for your test results. However if you have symptoms you should stay home while unwell, and follow the advice of your health practitioner on when you can return to work/school.
Your test result will be back within 2-3 days and is usually sent to people via text message.
If it has been more than four days and you do not have your results please email us at either SwabRotorua@lakesdhb.govt.nz or SwabTaupo@lakesdhb.govt.nz with your name and date of birth and we will follow-up with you.
What does self-isolation mean?
- Self-isolation means staying at home. This helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others.
- Do not go to work, supermarkets, pharmacies, school, preschool, university, group or social activities, church, sports, or public places like cinemas, shopping malls, food markets and cafes. Do not use public transport, ride-share or taxis, or visit others. Do not have visitors come in to your house.
- Do not go to hospital to visit people, for outpatient appointments, or for surgery unless you need urgent hospital care. If you do need urgent medical care, please phone first and advise that you are being tested for COVID-19. Please call the hospital if you need to reschedule any appointments.
What about my household and other close contacts?
- Others in your house only need to self-isolate while you wait for results if you are a close contact of a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19.
What if you become unwell?
- If you become more unwell, call the free 24/7 Healthline number for advice: 0800 358 5453.
- If it is urgent or if you have difficulty breathing, please call an ambulance on 111 and tell them that you may have COVID-19.
- More self-isolation advice is available on-line at www.covid19.govt.nz
- or call the free 24/7 Healthline number above. Interpreters are available.
If my test is negative for COVID-19, when can I come out of self-isolation?
If you have not recently travelled or have not had close contact with someone with the virus
- If you have been symptom free for 48 hours then this self-isolation requirement no longer applies.
If you have returned from overseas or have had close contact with someone with the virus
- you still need to complete the full 14-day isolation period
- if you are still sick with the same illness at the end of the 14-day isolation period, you will need to stay in isolation until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours
If my test is positive for COVID-19, when can I come out of self-isolation?
- If your test is positive for COVID-19 you will then be considered to be a confirmed case and you will be contacted by Public Health and given further advice.
- You will be required to stay home (self-isolate) until advised by a health professional that you can come out of self-isolation AND the following criteria must be met:
- It is more than 10 days after the start of your symptoms (or if you were hospitalised it is more than 10 days since your discharge from hospital) AND
- You have been free from all symptoms for at least 48 hours.
What about my household and other close contacts?
- If you test positive for COVID-19 you and your close contacts (those in your ‘bubble’) must continue to stay in self-isolation. Public Health will contact you and them with further advice.
Advice for health care workers who are confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases
- All health care workers who are confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases should have two negative COVID tests at least 24 hours apart prior to return to work. Note that this is only a requirement for return to work, not for release from isolation.
Advice for health care workers who are close contacts of a confirmed or probable case
- Health care workers who are close contacts of a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 should be tested for COVID-19 prior to release from quarantine (eg Day 12 or 13), even if they have no symptoms, with a negative test required for return to work.
Other Information and Resources
- If you have any questions about this information and advice please call Toi Te Ora Public Health on free phone 0800 221 555 and ask to speak to the on-call Health Protection Officer, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you Need to Talk, phone or call 1737
- If you need to find out more about COVID-19 check out www.covid19.govt.nz/