Hospital visiting guidelines updated 20 July 2022: Hospital visitors must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable. See our COVID-19 pages for detailed information about hospital visiting guidelinesCOVID-19 tests and care in the community advice. See for information about vaccinations.

We are at ORANGE according to the NZ COVID-19 Protection Framework

Last updated:
9th April 2022

  • For visitors to all facilities effective from Wednesday 20 July 2022With the recent resurgence in cases in Canterbury, largely due to the Omicron BA.5 subvariant we are seeing an increase in demand right across the health system. Presentations to our Christchurch ED and Ashburton’s AAU are higher than ever and admission rates are high, which means we have a shortage of resourced beds.Recently, we have seen too many unwell people coming to visit someone in hospital and too many that cannot or will not wear a medical mask. This increases the risk to vulnerable people in hospital. For these reasons we need to everything we can to minimise these risks.

    We have therefore tightened visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury hospitals and health facilities.

    Kia whakahaumaru te whānau, me ngā iwi katoa – this is to keep everybody safe:

    • One visitor per patient in the hospital at any given time, except where stated otherwise in the ‘exceptions’ section below.
    • No visitors under 16 to any part of our facilities.
    • No visitors to COVID +ve patients other than in exceptional circumstances.
    • No eating or drinking at the bedside or anywhere other than cafes or areas designated for eating/drinking, as taking your mask off puts patients at risk.
    • Visitors or support people must not visit our facilities if they are unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms (even if they have tested negative) or have had a recent tummy bug.
    • Do not visit if you are COVID +ve or a household contact of someone who has tested positive
    • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all times at all sites and will be provided if people don’t have them. Mask exemptions do not apply in our facilities – people who cannot tolerate a mask cannot visit at this time.
    • Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must be used.

    By sticking to the rules above, you help keep our patients, staff, other visitors and yourself safe. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as our staff work hard to protect and care for some of the most vulnerable in our community.

    Exceptions to the ‘one visitor’ policy

    • Exceptions can apply in some circumstances where trusted whānau members provide assistance, reassurance and other support for therapeutic care or on compassionate grounds – please talk to the ward’s Charge Nurse to discuss this before you come to hospital to visit. For whānau with an essential support role as a Partner in Care – again, please check with the ward’s Charge Nurse before you come to hospital to visit.
    • People attending Christchurch ED or Ashburton AAU can have one support person with them.
    • Women in labour and in the birthing suite can have two named support people + their community LMC/midwife if they have one – for the duration of the birth only. All other women on the Maternity Ward are allowed one support person for the duration of their stay in our facilities at Christchurch Women’s Hospital and other maternity units. Only one support person can be with each woman in the maternity ward, and one support person for maternity clinic appointments. No under 16s are allowed to visit or attend appointments.
    • Parents/caregivers can be with their baby in NICU.
    • Parents/caregivers are able to be with their child in hospital (Except Children’s Haematology and Oncology Day patients where only one parent or caregiver is permitted).
    • People requiring support when attending an appointment can have one support person. Please let the relevant service know if you need this so they are able to accommodate your request.

    Visiting patients with COVID-19

    • To avoid them becoming infected with COVID-19 and passing it one, visitors to COVID-19 positive patients will not be allowed except in extenuating circumstances – by prior agreement with the Charge Nurse Manager only, and wearing an N95 mask.
    • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, facetime, zoom etc.

    You must NOT visit the hospital if you

    • are a household contact of a COVID-19 positive case
    • are COVID-19 positive
    • Have a cold or flu/COVID-19-like symptoms (even if you are testing negative for COVID-19)

    Exceptions for people with disabilities

    An exception will be made for people with disabilities who are in hospital or have to attend an outpatient appointment – where they need a support person to access health services. For example, a sign language interpreter, support person for someone with a learning disability, or someone to assist with mobility. The support person is in addition to the one permitted visitor.

    Everyone visiting our facilities must wear a mask, no exceptions

    While we appreciate that some people have legitimate reasons for being exempt from wearing a mask and may even have an official card to confirm this, people who cannot or will not wear a mask cannot visit someone in hospital or attend hospital, other than to access healthcare. This is another measure to minimise the risk to vulnerable patients.

    Patients and visitors should also read the additional more detailed visiting guidelines for each specific hospital.

    More COVID-19 information

Lead, Blood

Diagnostic Use

Lead is used in storage batteries, ammunition and type metal, cable sheaths, solder, previously used in anti-knock compounds in petrol and the plastics industry. It is also present in many metals such as brass (1-3.5%). Lead can also be a problem in the home, particularly from sanding old lead based paints and making diving and fishing weights, and in artists’ studios and potteries. Indoor small bore rifle shooters are also at risk from lead poisoning.
Acute lead poisoning in adults is commonly characterized by abdominal pain, tiredness, aching limbs and joints, and irritability. Nerve palsy and wrist drop have also been mentioned but are very rare. In children and animals lead poisoning is accompanied by CNS signs such as convulsions, irritability, vomiting and anaemia. High lead intake can also be asymptomatic as in a lot of occupational exposure where increased lead intake is seen only by blood lead level measurement. Chronic cases present in neurological wards with polyneuritis and renal impairment.

Sources of lead for different occupational groups
Radiator repair:
Solder (60% lead, 40% tin) is used. After repair the excess solder is buffed off using a grinder type wheel, creating dust. In addition radiators were formerly painted with lead based paint but this practice has been discontinued.
High heat generated in the furnace leads to fumes. Lead (2-3%) is added to brass (copper/zinc alloy) and some bronzes (copper/tin alloy) e.g. gunmetal, as it gives the metal a lubrication quality and prevents machinery seizure. Phosphor bronze and aluminium bronze have minimal lead content.
Muffler repair:
Exhaust systems may have deposits of lead oxide from lead petrol. This creates fine dust and lead fumes during welding.( Mostly seen in older vehicles)
Scrap metal:
This includes burning off the covering of old cables, cutting lead enamelled baths, handling old lead batteries and smelting down lead using crude furnaces.
Metal moulding:
The high temperatures used produce fumes from lead and lead containing alloys.
Container repair:
Welding, brushing and sandblasting of lead paint in the confined spaces of containers produces dusts and fumes.
Engine reconditioning:
This involves engines and oils that may be contaminated with lead deposits from leaded petrol.
Panel beating:
Workers are exposed to lead dust and fumes from sanding and welding car bodies containing lead. Lead is still used by some panel beaters to repair surface defects.
Metal machining:
Dust is created by the cutting and spinning of metal alloys containing lead.
Metal polishing:
Fine dust is created when buffing lead based alloys.
Old printing equipment used lead based letters for printing.
Welding/gas cutting:
This involves cutting metals coated with lead based paints or bath enamel.
Spray painting:
Exposure occurs during the preparation of surfaces previously coated with lead based paints.
Lead battery manufacture:
Used lead batteries are recycled by smelting down and making lead ingots. Manufacture of new lead batteries involves making the lead plates, pasting them with a lead oxide paste and assembling the battery.
Plastic production:
PVC contains tri basic lead sulphate as a scavenger of acids produced in the degradation of PVC and improves thermal stability. Workers are exposed in the debagging room, where the dampened powder is opened and mixed with high speed mixers and a free flowing powder is formed which contains approximately 2% lead. A fine dust can escape from the mixers.
Soldering temperatures are generally not high enough for the fumes to be hazardous. However, lead dust is created when sanding and buffing the lead solder seams.
Metal extruding: Garage mechanic:
See metal moulding. See engine reconditioning.
Lead based glazes are used.
Plumbers sometimes use red lead putty as a sealant, as well as soldered joints and lead flashings.
Cable jointing:
Lead is used to mould around joins in cables, which is generally carried out in confined spaces. This practice is gradually being phased out in favour of plastics.
Lead soldered seams are buffed up and polished prior to chrome plating.
Bright solder/electronics:
These use lead solder. Jewellers mostly use silver solder (bright solder).
Paint removal/painting and decorating:
Exposure occurs during removal of lead based paints, eg by sanding.
Exhaust exposure/petrol pump operation:
Leaded petrol exhaust fumes affect car park attendants and WOF workers.
Smallbore rifle shooting:
Lead fumes arise from both the bullet and the primer. There is additional lead in the dust when cleaning the shooting range.


Lipids/Trace Metals

Delphic Registration Code



Blood Lead
Red Cell Lead
Whole Blood Lead

Turnaround Time

7 days

Test Code