New COVID-19 testing criteria

June 26th, 2020

The Ministry of Health has developed the following criteria and case definitions for COVID-19. The criteria take into account New Zealand’s current COVID-19 status.

We are currently in a position where people with an acute respiratory infection are not automatically considered a suspect case, they must be considered to have a higher index of suspicion to warrant testing.

All people meeting the “Higher Index of Suspicion” (HIS) criteria who have
symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should be tested for COVID-19 and self-isolate while awaiting test results to reduce the risk to others.

If you have a cold or cough with mild symptoms, please STAY AT HOME and manage this through rest and over the counter medications from your pharmacy.

If they have concerns a phone consult is ideal to help avoid spreading winter viruses, but if you need to see you doctor, a face to face appointment can be booked with the doctor on duty that day or their own doctor when there is appointment availability.

Relevant symptoms

The following symptoms are consistent with COVID-19:

  • new or worsening cough,
  • sore throat,
  • shortness of breath,
  • runny nose and/or sneezing
  • loss of sense of smell
  • Some people may present with symptoms such as only: fever, diarrhoea, headache, myalgia, nausea/vomiting, or confusion/irritability. If there is not another likely diagnosis, and they meet the HIS criteria then they will be tested.

Higher Index of Suspicion (HIS) criteria

Either, in the 14 days prior to illness onset have:

  • had contact 3 with a confirmed or probable case
  • travelled internationally
  • had 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

More Information

For more information, visit the Ministry of Health website here.

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