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

Zinc, Whole Blood

Diagnostic Use

Zinc is an essential trace element that is generally non-toxic and is essential for normal growth and development, wound healing and immunocompetence. It is also necessary for the activity of more than 70 metalloenzymes, e.g. carbonic anhydrase, alkaline phosphatise, RNA and DNA polymerases, thymidine kinase and carboxypeptidases.

Zinc is actively absorbed from the gut into epithelial cells, where it is stored as mucosal metallothionen or released into the plasma, where 80% is mainly bound to albumin. It is then transported to the liver, where it is stored by hepatocytes in metallothionen. Zinc is mainly stored in muscle, with bone, liver and plasma forming a small exchangeable pool. Twenty percent of body zinc is found in the skin, nails and hair.

Regulation of zinc absorption is thought to be controlled by the amount of metal free albumin. Zinc absorption decreases in the presence of dietary phytate, high dietary phosphate and excessive calcium. Coffee, dairy products and high fibre bread also reduce zinc absorption. Zinc is mainly excreted in the faeces, with small amounts being lost via the kidneys; urinary zinc increases in nephrosis, postalcoholic hepatic cirrhosis and hepatic porphyria. Increased excretion also occurs in total starvation and on administration of chelation agents. Large amounts of zinc can also be lost in sweat.

Increased zinc intake depresses copper absorption and conversely copper absorption is greatly increased in zinc deficiency. Metabolic interactions occur between zinc and cadmium, zinc and iron, and zinc and chromium. Cadmium and iron uptake are depressed by high zinc levels, while chromium and zinc are metabolised by a common pathway in the intestine and are mutually antagonistic.

In blood approximately 80% of zinc is in the red blood cells. Almost all of this is in carbonic anhydrase. About 3% is found in leucocytes, each leucocyte containing approximately 25 times the amount of zinc as each individual erythrocyte. The rest, approximately 20%, is found in the plasma. In the newborn, erythrocyte zinc levels are about half that of the adult, with levels progressively increasing until about 12 years of age.

Dietary intake: 6 mg/day for children, 2 mg/day for adults
Excretion: Bile, urine and faeces


Lipids/Trace Metals

Delphic Registration Code


Turnaround Time

5 days

Test Code