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Testing and isolating

Last updated on 10 March 2022.

In Phase 3, the majority of people who test positive for COVID-19 will need to isolate at home.

Who needs a test?

  • If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms you should get a test. COVID-19 symptoms can be similar to a cold or flu.
  • You can always check if you should get a test by calling  your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453.
  • If you live with a person who has COVID-19, you need to get a test on their Day 3 and Day 7 of self-isolation. If you are a Close Contact, you do not need to get a test unless you develop symptoms.
  • People at higher risk of getting seriously sick from COVID-19 can get a free test from their doctor or community health provider. They will decide which type of test is best for you.
  • If you want to get a test for another reason — for example, because you are visiting friends or whānau — you can now buy a RAT at some retail outlets.

What test do you need?

There are 2 types of COVID-19 tests:

  • Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are the main tests being used now. They are simple to use and you will have the result within 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are still being used in some situations. Results take between 2 and 5 days. A health professional will tell you if you need one of these.

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Where to get a test?

How to get a RAT

  • You can order RATs for yourself or someone else. You will need to use a mobile phone to confirm your order.
  • Order online: requestrats.covid19.health.nz
  • Order over the phone: 0800 222 478, choose option 3 (8am-8pm, 7 days a week)
  • You will be given an order number.
  • Take your order number with you to pick up your RAT order. Pick up the order from a collection site listed on Healthpoint, or someone can pick it up for you.

Register your test result

  • Please report your RAT result whether you are positive or negative.
  • Watch a video about how to report your result.
  • You can report the result by logging into My Covid Record | mycovidrecord.health.nz
  • This link provides some pictures to help explain the process.
  • Under ‘Self-report a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) result‘, tap or click ‘Report a test result‘.
  • Read the information and tick the box if you agree with the privacy statement.
  • Tap or click ‘Continue‘.
  • Enter your mobile number and tick the box if you consent to receiving COVID-19 information.
  • Tap or click ‘Continue‘.
  • Input which lines you can see on your test by choosing ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
  • Tap or click ‘Enter result‘.
  • You will then be sent advice on what to do next.
  • If you have make a mistake you can remove it within 20 minutes.
  • You can report on the phone by calling 0800 222 478 (choose option 3). Use the phone if you are reporting a RAT result for a child under 12.

Need help with My Covid Record?

  • If you do not have your own email address or valid ID, or need help with My Covid Record, contact the Ministry of Health team, 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week. It will help to have your NHI number ready. Email: [email protected] or call 0800 222 478

Tested positive?

  • The Ministry of Health will send you a text message from 2328 confirming your positive test result. The text will provide information about self-isolation, support options and a 6-digit access code for the online contact tracing form.
  • Click on the link in the 2328 text message. It will take you to an online form to fill in. Do this asap to get the support you need to isolate safely.
  • Click on the second link to fill in your ‘close contacts’. For most people, it will take 5 to 10 minutes.
  • If you are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and have not completed the form within 12 hours, you will get a phone call.
  • You’ll also be given a phone number for 24-hour health support.

What about whānau and people you live with?

  • People in your household will also need to stay home for 7 days.
  • In Phase 3 close contacts do not need to isolate.

If you test positive on holiday

  • If you travelled by public transport or a flight, you will probably need to stay where you are. You will only be allowed to go home if you and the people you are with can drive home without stopping anywhere on the way.
  • Tell your accommodation provider you have Covid-19 and your close contacts will need to do the same. You will also need to tell your rental car company or the owner of the car you are driving.

What about sick pay?

  • An employer can apply for Covid-19 Leave Support Scheme for most people. It covers two weeks of work and is paid to your employer all at once. This is available for your close contacts who also need to self-isolate.