Do I need to get tested for COVID-19?

Testing requirements during Omicron phase 3 are under constant review. If you have any doubt about whether you should be tested, call your doctor, iwi health provider or Healthline 0800 358 5453 and they will advise you.

What are the testing requirements during Omicron phase 3?

Situation Advice about testing
Have any COVID-19 symptoms Get a test then stay at home until you get a negative result. If in doubt call Healthline on 0800 358 5453. See below: What to do if I am unwell.
Live with a person who has COVID-19 You need to get a test on their day 3 and day 7 of self-isolation. Read more about household contacts.
Have had contact with a person with COVID-19 when they were infectious Monitor yourself for symptoms. Only get a test if you develop symptoms. Read more about close contacts.
You are in an area where COVID-19 is in the community  There is no need to get tested unless you have symptoms or have been advised to get tested.
Have arrived from overseas  You need to isolate and test. Read more: You want to travel to Aotearoa New Zealand.
Are a critical worker and have no symptoms  You may need to have a rapid antigen test (RAT) to ensure you are still COVID-19 free. Read more about advice for critical workers
Attending a court of law  If you need to attend a court of law in person and are asymptomatic and unvaccinated, you will need to produce a negative COVID-19 test result.
 After you have had COVID-19 The risk of re-infection after you've had COVID-19 is extremely low in the first month and remains low for 3 months.
If you develop symptoms of COVID during this time, get a RAT test. Do not get a PCR test as they can show false positives.

Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are the main testing method being used now for people with COVID-19 symptoms or who are a household contact. Results take about 20 minutes. Read more about RATs.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are still being used in some situations. Results take between 2 and 5 days. A health professional can advise you on the right test to take in your situation.

What do I do if I am unwell?

If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, get a test. Find out where to get a COVID-19 test.

Symptoms of the Omicron variant
  • In adults: the most common symptoms are runny nose, headache, tiredness (fatigue), sneezing and a sore throat. The loss of taste or smell is less common.  
  • In children: an upset tummy, possibly with diarrhoea (runny poo) and vomiting (being sick) has been found to be one of the first symptoms.
Learn more about symptoms in COVID positive adults and COVID positive children.

Don't go to a medical clinic without phoning first – you may infect other people

How will I know if I am likely to have been in contact with COVID-19?

Now that we are in Omicron phase 3, locations of interest are no longer being published.  If you are a household contact the person testing positive should tell you. Many people who test positive will fill in an online contact form and you may be notified from that if you are a contact. If you are a high-risk contact, eg, if you visited a hospital or aged-care facility, you may be contacted by a contact tracing team. 

Note: Aotearoa New Zealand has moved to the COVID-19 protection framework also known as the traffic light system. Find out the current alert level for your region here using the traffic light map. 

How can I find an interpreter?

Follow this process:

  1. Feeling unwell? Call Healthline 0800 358 5453
  2. Immediately say the language you need, for example, ‘Korean’ and WAIT (it could take up to 5-10mins), DO NOT HANG UP!
  3. The Healthline staff have been told not to carry on talking to you in English if you have said the language you need first. You will be connected to an interpreter.
  4. You can tell the interpreter your health concerns as part of a three-way conversation with the Healthline staff.

See also the Ministry of Health's easy to read resources translated by the Red Cross into other languages.

Where can I get a COVID test?

You are allowed to leave your home to get a COVID-19 test while you are self-isolating. Find out more about where you can get a COVID test. 

Getting a test after you've had COVID

The risk of re-infection after you've had COVID-19 is extremely low in the first month and remains low for 3 months. Read more about catching COVID-19 again.

So for the next 3 months after you've had COVID, if you develop symptoms of COVID, get a RAT test. Do not get a PCR test as they can show false positives.

Learn more

Information about where to get tested in Auckland NRHCC, NZ
Covid-19 education Immunisation Advisory Centre, NZ
Traffic lights map Unite against COVID-19, NZ
Contact tracing for COVID-19 (including definitions of close, casual plus and casual contacts). Ministry of Health, NZ
Casual plus contacts fact sheet Unite against COVID-19, NZ 
Casual contacts fact sheet Unite against COVID-19, NZ
COVID-19 – travellers Ministry of Health, NZ
After you have had COVID-19  Unite against COVID-19, NZ 

Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team.