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COVID-19 Southern Updates

The Southern health system is at Alert Level 2

Please follow Alert Level 2 advice.

The Southern District, along with most of New Zealand apart from Auckland, is at Delta Alert Level 2, and is making some adjustments to keep patients, staff and visitors safe.

COVID-19 testing

Get tested immediately if you have symptoms

As we move down Alert Levels it is essential that we stay home and get tested if we have any COVID-19 symptoms, even if it’s only a runny nose.

If you have cold or flu-like symptoms or have been at a location of interest at a relevant time, you should get a COVID-19 test.

Residents or visitors can contact 0800 VIRUS-19 (0800 847 8719) or book a test through your GP. Please do not attend the Emergency Department to seek a test. Testing is FREE.

If you are symptomatic, you should stay home (or at your accommodation) until a negative result is returned and you are symptom-free. If you have been at a location of interest you will need to stay in self-isolation, regardless of your test result, and follow public health advice. Please continue to comply with Alert Level guidelines.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms for COVID-19 may include:

  • a fever (high temperature)
  • a cough
  • shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • a sore throat
  • sneezing and a runny or dripping nose
  • a temporary loss of sense of smell
  • muscle aches and chills

Less common symptoms may include:

  • diarrhoea
  • headache
  • muscle pain or body aches
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • confusion or irritability

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.

Our hospitals under level 2

Visitors Policy at Alert Level 2

Visitor restrictions have been modified to reflect the lower alert level, but are not yet back to Level 1 conditions. Inpatients may receive one visitor at a time, with each visitor allowed to visit once each day. Again, this is to help maintain physical distancing requirements on the wards, which is particularly challenging in shared rooms if patients have more than one visitor at a time.

Visitors are asked to follow Level 2 requirements including wearing a mask, scanning, hand hygiene and staying home if they are sick.

If you are visiting our hospitals from an area at Alert Level 3 or 4 (under permitted travel or a travel exemption), please contact the duty managers at the hospital ahead of your visit, so we can advise of any precautions you should take.

Visiting times

  • Dunedin Hospital:  2pm – 8pm
  • Southland Hospital: 2pm – 8pm
  • Lakes District Hospital: 2 - 6pm
  • Wakari Hospital: 2pm - 8pm
    *Some wards in our hospitals have special visiting guidelines – for more details click here.
All visitors and patients must observe the following Level 2 requirements:

Masks or face coverings must be worn by outpatients and visitors. This includes:

  • When in Common Areas
  • In Wards
  • In Lifts/Elevators

They should also be worn:

  • By inpatients where practicable/sensible
  • When patients are moving through common/shared spaces.

Physical distancing at Alert Level 2
Please keep 2 metres from people you do not know in public places.

Keep 1 metre apart in controlled environments like workplaces where practicable.

In the hospital cafeteria / café please comply with the 2 metres rule and do not rearrange seating, Please wear your mask when you’re not eating.

Hospital Cafes at Level 2

All cafes are open in Level 2, but with Level 2 restrictions as follows:

  • Face masks must be worn whilst interacting others in the café
  • Scan on entry
  • Sanitise your hands
  • Maintain the seating arrangements
  • Do NOT place your worn face mask on the tables whilst eating.
  • Staff will be monitoring numbers and may restrict access.
  • Attempt to limit your time in the café to allow others to use the facility.
Screening patients and visitors

With the move to Alert Level 2, the requirement for all visitors to the hospitals to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms has been relaxed. However there are instances where people will continue to be screened either prior to or upon arrival at hospital. Screening will still apply to all patients presenting to Southern Emergency Departments and the support person accompanying them.

This is because the limited space in Emergency Department waiting rooms means that people are in reasonably close proximity, although chairs have been spaced for purposes of physical distancing. Outpatients and ambulatory elective patients will also be screened – mostly this will be undertaken prior to the patient arriving at the hospital.

Non-urgent surgery and outpatient appointments gradually resuming

We continue to resume health services across the region, in order of clinical priority. This may mean managing appointments in a different way such as via online/telephone/non-contact methods. Please be reassured that you will be contacted as soon as we can if you have an outstanding appointment or surgery.


Midwifery care and maternity care is an essential service and is available for everyone who needs it. For pregnancy-related care and advice please contact your Lead Maternity Caregiver. Healthy well women with normal pregnancies are encouraged to consider birth at home or their local primary maternity unit.  Women can also consider a postnatal transfer to a rural primary maternity unit for inpatient postnatal care

Women in labour in a maternity facility will be allowed one support partner, for the duration of the labour and birth. A maximum of one visitor at a time and one visit per day for women in antenatal in-patient or postnatal wards. 

Our community under level 2


At Level 2 low-risk patients are able to receive a normal range of dental care from their usual provider. Please be aware that we are expecting to catch up on a lot of deferred work over the next few weeks.

Community Oral Health Services for children aged 0-12 years are open. Oral Health team: Otago 0800 672 543, and Southland 0800 570 300. For adults in the Southern district, please contact your usual provider. Patients who are identified as high risk will only be able to have essential emergency care provided.

General Practices

General Practices in the Southern District are open.  People should call if they need health care. If you would ordinarily call your doctor, call your doctor.


Pharmacies are open. Please check opening times, as they may be different to usual.

Southern Community Laboratories

To find a list of collection centres and their opening hours, please go to the SCLABS website. Please do not attend if you have cold or flu like symptoms.

District nursing

The district nursing service are now providing a full range of services with home visits and clinic recommencing.  Referrals are being accepted as normal.  To accommodate the requirements under Level 2 and maintain patient and staff safety, there may be some changes to how some services are delivered.

Home care services

Home and Community Support Services are progressively returning to providing a full range of services.  Clients will be contacted by the provider.  To accommodate the requirements under Level 2 and maintain patient and staff safety, there may be some changes to how some services are delivered.

Home Team/Community Rehab

These services are operating as normal and patients will be contacted if there is a change to their schedule.


Hospice services continue to be delivered through Otago and Southland. Inpatient and community services are running largely as normal under the ministry of health alert level 2 guidelines. Access to advice and support is available 24/7 (Otago 0800 473 6005 and Southland 0800 211 308) and is not limited to patients known to the Hospice.

Meals on Wheels

The Meals on Wheels services are being delivered as usual.  Clients should have a good back up plan just in case a meal doesn’t make it to its destination.

Sexual health

Dunedin and Southland sexual health clinics are open. Patients are asked to contact the clinic to arrange a consultation. There are no drop in clinics available.

Dunedin Clinic:
Open Monday to Friday 9am - 6.30pm
Phone 0800 742 546 ext 1
Invercargill clinic:
Open Mondays to Friday 9am-4.30pm
Phone 0800 742 546 ext 2

Urban and rural youth health clinics

Youth health & wellbeing, sexual health & contraception
This service is available. Please contact your public health nurse or email:

Te Punaka Oraka Public Health nursing

Public health nursing services are available to schools and families for child and youth health. Please contact:

Before school checks 

This service is available and bookings can be made by free phone text 0800 247224

Look after your well being

Need some help getting through? 

Trained counsellors
Call or text at any time to speak with a trained counsellor - it's free, confidential and 24/7. Simply text or call 1737. 

Here are a range of other resources with helpful support and advice:

There's useful and practical information available for those at home in isolation on the government's website


tracer app icon

Being able to trace your contacts if you have been exposed to COVID-19 is critical to being able to quickly isolate any cases that may emerge, and stop the virus from spreading in the community. Please download the NZ COVID tracer app and turn on Bluetooth functionality (a setting within the app), or use a diary and check-in wherever you go! 

unite against covid logo

For everything you need to know about
COVID-19 in one place visit: Unite Against COVID website