Do I need to get tested for COVID-19?

If you have cold or flu symptoms or if you have visited a location of interest, stay home and call your doctor, iwi health provider or Healthline 0800 358 5453. They will let you know whether you should have a COVID-19 test.

Key points about COVID-19 testing

  1. If you were at a location of interest at the stated time, follow the Ministry of Health’s advice for what to do (see below).
  2. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, stay at home and contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 to see if you should get a test.
  3. Don’t seek a test if you have not been at a location of interest at the stated time and don't have any COVID-19 symptoms, unless you have been advised to have a test. 

On this page, you can find the following information:

Who should get tested?

If you are unwell

If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, call Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453, your doctor or a iwi health provider.

A health professional will let you know the next steps and if you should get a test. Find out where to get a COVID-19 test.

If you visited a location of interest at the stated time

If you visited a location of interest at a certain time, you MUST self-isolate at your home or your accommodation and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice. See the Ministry of Health advice on what to do.

For contact tracing purposes, anyone who attended one of the locations of interest during the relevant timeframes is considered to be either a casual plus contact or casual contact.

  • A casual plus contact is anyone who has been in the same place (location of interest) at the same time, near someone infectious with COVID-19.
  • A casual contact is anyone who has been at the same place at the same time as someone infectious with COVID-19 but may not have been near the infectious person.

If you are a household member of a person who has been at a location of interest, you must isolate at home until the person who was at the location receives a negative day 5 test  (you do not need to be tested unless you are asked to be).

If you are not unwell and did not visit a location of interest

When there is an outbreak, there is very high demand for tests from people who have not been to locations of interest and do not have symptoms. These people are not the priority for testing. 

  • If you were not at a location of interest at the stated times and you have no symptoms, you do not need to be tested.
  • If you have symptoms but you did not visit a location of interest, stay home and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice. 

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

For COVID-19 related health concerns call Healthline 0800 358 5453 or your doctor or iwi health provider. If it is an emergency, phone 111 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department. Don't call Healthline for non-health related issues. Find out more about the alert levels and what to do at Unite Against COVID.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The symptoms or tohu mate of COVID-19 are similar to common illnesses such as a cold or flu. You may have one or more of the following: 

Common symptoms
  • a new or worsening cough (mare tauraki)
  • fever (at least 38˚C) (kirikā)
  • shortness of breath (hēmanawa)
  • a sore throat  (korokoro mamae)
  • sneezing and runny nose
  • temporary loss of smell.

Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

Less common symptoms

Some people may have less typical symptoms such as only:

  • diarrhoea (runny poos)
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • nausea/vomiting (feeling or being sick)
  • confusion/irritability.

Note that the less common symptoms are more common with the new COVID-19 variants such as Delta.

If you have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor, Healthline 0800 358 5453 or your iwi health provider.

If you need 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 briefed not to carry on talking in English to you 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?

The Government has set up a number of community testing centres to provide safe places to get tested (swabbed) for COVID-19. Find your nearest community testing centre.

If you are concerned about any symptoms you are experiencing, please call your GP, iwi health provider or Healthline 0800 358 5453. They will advise you whether to go to your doctor or to a community testing centre for a swab test.

Read more about community-based testing centres.

Is there a fee for a COVID-19 test?

COVID-19 tests are free. All publicly funded COVID-19 related care, including diagnosis, testing and treatment, is provided free to anyone who needs it. This means it doesn't matter about your citizenship or immigration status, nationality or level of medical insurance coverage. You still need to pay the usual fees for any other health care.

Learn more

Information about where to get tested in Auckland Auckland DHB, NZ
COVID-19 testing centres around Aotearoa Healthline, NZ
Covid-19 education Immunisation Advisory Centre, NZ

Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team.