19/03/2020 5:11:52 p.m.

Thursday 19 March 2020



Lakes DHB staff along with all DHBs will be dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). It is likely COVID-19 will become widespread, posing major risks for our population, particularly elderly and vulnerable people who have other medical conditions. While COVID-19 will be mild for many people it will be severe and potentially fatal for others.

Our hospitals look after some of the sickest patients in our community. To protect our patients and the staff looking after them, Lakes DHB needs to reduce the routes by which COVID-19 can be introduced to our hospitals. 

We need to have in place systems that avoid the spread of the disease from one patient to another, and from visitors to staff who we need to be well and at work caring for the sick

For these reasons Lakes DHB has reviewed and revised its visiting policy, with a number of significant changes that take effect from Friday. They include: 

Visitors are requested NOT TO VISIT PATIENTS WHILE THEY ARE IN HOSPITAL unless the patient is in a palliative phase of their illness or is seriously unwell.
Only one visitor will be allowed at any one time to visit a patient. This visitor is expected to be the spokesperson for the family/whānau and to keep the wider whānau informed of the patient’s condition as appropriate. 

Visitors may be required to wear the personal protective equipment that we supply and to comply with our processes to prevent the spread of infection. 

The above will apply to all areas of both hospitals including the Emergency Departments, Children’s Unit, ICU, general wards, maternity wards, Special Care Baby Unit and the Mental Health facility. 

Only one support person will be allowed for any woman in labour.

Patients are encouraged to talk regularly with friends and family via phone or by facetime and similar applications. Staff will be available for condition updates to whānau using phone (or facetime) as whānau require.

Access to both Rotorua and Taupo hospitals will be through the main entrances only. During this COVID-10 emergency situation, the premises will be locked down and all visitors will be screened. Security staff will be stationed at the entrance and all people entering via this route will be screened - both in terms of their reason for being on the hospital premises and with temperature screening undertaken to determine if people have a fever. Any visitor with a fever will be denied entry and referred to their general practice, or to Healthline 0800 358 5453 or their GP for further follow up and possible testing.

The screening process will also apply to those patients/visitors attending outpatient clinics, allied health appointments and radiology.

Lakes DHB has not made this decision without considerable thought and acknowledges the new rules will be upsetting to families and friends. Please be assured that these arrangements have been put in place to protect patients, staff, visitors, families and the wider community in order to be able to continue to provide essential health services.

These changes have been discussed in advance with iwi groupings.

These arrangements will remain in force until further notice.


For more information contact: Sue Wilkie Communications Officer or Shan Tapsell Assistant Communications Officer Phone (07) 349 7944 or mobile 027 242 3652

Follow our Facebook page at for COVID-19 updates.