If you’re feeling nervous or unsure about what the next few weeks will look like, kei te pai (all good). Everyone who starts home quarantine feels this way – it’s totally normal. 

Make sure you are prepared and know how best to look after yourself and your whānau. Download the guide below. 


    Whānau HQ - I've tested positive - Preparation Guide    

What is Whānau Home Quarantine?

Home quarantine is when you and the whānau you live with need to stay at home because you have tested positive for COVID-19.


Getting prepared for Whānau HQ

What to do
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, you and everyone in your home should not leave the house for any reason, unless advised to do so by the health team or in an emergency when you have called 111.
  • You and everyone in your home should not go to work, school, the supermarket or to visit whānau/friends.
  • Stay two metres away from other people in your home, and wear a mask if you have to go into the same room as someone who doesn’t have COVID-19. 
  • Try not to share a bed or bedroom with someone who doesn’t have COVID-19, if you can.
  • As much as possible, reduce the amount of time you spend in shared spaces of your home like the bathroom and kitchen. Keep these spaces well ventilated by opening windows and doors.
  • You can go outside, but you must stay on your property and not speak to your neighbours.
When you can go out again
  • You will need to quarantine for at least 10 days.
  • The health team will make the final decision about when you can leave home quarantine. They will let you know about this decision near the end of your time in quarantine.
  • Every person you live with will need to stay at home for a minimum of 20 days. This is made up of the ten days that you are in quarantine, plus another 10 days starting from the day you leave quarantine.
Things to keep in mind when making the decision: Whānau HQ or MIQ

Every time a person you live in the house with tests positive for COVID-19, everybody in the house has to start their time in home quarantine again – even if they are vaccinated or an essential worker. This means some people can be in-home quarantine for many weeks or perhaps months. 

If home quarantine is not right for you and your household, you can speak to the health team about going into MIQ instead.

If you would like to go to MIQ, or have any other questions contact the health team on 0800 687 647 (free to call, 24 hours a day).

Your Whānau HQ journey

Find out what happens at each stage of home quarantine.

Day 0: Positive test confirmation & Whānau HQ

You will get a call to say you have tested positive for COVID-19. From this point on, quarantine at home.
This means that nobody in your house should leave, or have visitors. You can only leave for urgent medical attention when you’ve called 111, or as directed by the health team.

Stay 2 metres away from other people in your home and wear a mask when around others.

Day 1: Quarantine Interview

Someone will call you within 24 hours of your positive COVID-19 result, to discuss whether you’ll stay in-home quarantine or go to MIQ. Your whānau/household will also get their own calls, as they are close contacts.

Day 1 onwards: Health checks

You’ll have daily health checks with a health team member to make sure you are safe. These checks may be over the phone, video call, or face to face. You’ll use a pulse oximeter three times a day to take readings of your pulse and oxygen levels. Make sure you answer any calls you get during this time.

Day 2-3: Information pack

We’ll send you a Whānau HQ package that has all the information you will need, as well as some health equipment to help you keep track of your progress.

Day 5+: COVID-19 testing for whānau/household

Your whānau/household members will be tested on day five of their ‘close contact’ quarantine period and will have other tests later, as directed by the health team. They will need to go to a community testing centre and the health team will advise them how to do that safely. Mobile testing may be arranged if needed. The health team will talk with you about this.

Community Testing Centre locations are listed at healthpoint.co.nz/covid-19/

Day 10: Final health check

Around Day 10 you'll have a final health, symptom and exit check with a health team member. If you are symptom-free and it is safe to do so, you will be able to leave the house the next day (Day 11). The health team will advise when you can do this and will provide a release letter showing that you are no longer infectious.

As long as the health team has cleared you to leave quarantine, you do not need to return a negative test before leaving isolation. People who have had COVID-19 can continue to test positive for several weeks after they were infected. This is because pieces of the virus stay in your body long after you have recovered.

Days 11-20+:Whānau/household quarantine

Anyone else in the house who doesn't get COVID-19 will need to stay in home quarantine for 10 days after the last COVID-19 positive person in the house has been cleared to leave quarantine.

The health team will continue to check in on them during this time. The health team will advise when they are able to leave and will provide a release letter to show that they are no longer infectious.

COVID-19 symptoms - what to expect

While you have COVID-19 make sure you try to rest as much as possible and drink plenty of fluids. If you need pain relief or have a high fever use paracetamol according to the instructions on the package.

If you start to feel worse
Call the health team on 0800 687 647 (free to call, 24 hours a day)

 In an emergency - call 111
If you or a family member becomes very unwell or has difficulty breathing, immediately call an ambulance on 111.


What to expect when you have COVID-19

Days 1-3

Symptoms in the first three days vary widely.

  • It can start with a tickle in your throat, a cough, fever or headache. You may also feel short of breath or a little pressure in your chest.
  • Sometimes it begins with some diarrhoea (runny poo).
  • You may feel tired and/or may lose your sense of taste and smell.
  • You may experience some or none of these symptoms.

Even if you have a mild COVID-19 infection, avoid running, workouts, weights and high impact activities until you’ve been cleared by your healthcare team.

Days 4-6

These are important days to be more aware of your symptoms. This is when lung (respiratory) symptoms may start to get worse, especially if you have other conditions like high blood pressure, obesity or diabetes.

  • You may start to feel worse and may have aches, chills, cough and find it hard to get comfortable.
  • Some younger people may develop rashes, including itchy red patches, swelling or blistering on their toes or fingers.
Days 7-8

For people with mild illness, the worst is generally over after a week.

Some people may get worse at this point, or start to feel better briefly then take a turn for the worse.

If you start to feel worse, contact the health team on 0800 687 647 (free to call, 24 hours a day).

Days 8-12

Continue to monitor your symptoms and record them in your diary.

You may feel better sleeping on your front/stomach or side.

Days 13-14
  • Most people will feel better by now. Some people feel more tired than usual.
  • A slow return to activity is advised.

If you have ongoing severe symptoms, the health team will advise you what to do. This is why recording your symptoms is so important.

Your health

While you are quarantining at home, our team will check up on you regularly to make sure that you and your whānau are safe.

There are also a few things that you need to do to make sure that our team have the right information.


Health Checks and How to use the Pulse Oximeter

Health checks

You will have regular health checks done over the phone with a health team member, to make sure that you are safe and supported. If you don’t have a phone, one will be given to you to use. It’s really important that you answer any calls you receive during this time.

You will take some measurements of your health every day. This includes:

  • Measuring the oxygen levels in your blood and your heart rate using the small monitor (called a ‘pulse oximeter’) .
  • Recording your symptoms in the ‘Health Diary’. 
Using the pulse oximeter

Use the pulse oximeter twice a day to help check how you’re doing while you are recovering from COVID-19. This provides important information for the health team looking after your care.

When to record your oxygen level

Use the pulse oximeter to take your oxygen level and pulse reading three times a day – morning, midday and evening.

It is important to sit down and be still for around five minutes before you takethe reading.

How to do it

  • Step 1: Set up your pulse oximeter
    Make sure you have batteries in your oximeter. The two AAA batteries are in the back of the plastic packaging that the pulse oximeter came in.
  • Step 2: Get ready
    Make sure your hands are clean and warm before you start. Sit down somewhere comfortable and relax for 5 minutes.
  • Step 3: Put the oximeter on your finger
    Squeeze the bottom of the pulse oximeter like a peg so the top opens enough to allow your finger to fit inside. Put your index or middle finger into the pulse oximeter as far as it will go. The pulse oximeter will turn on when your finger is inside.
  • Step 4: Keep still for 1 minute
    Lay you hand down on a flat surface (your fingernails will be pointing away from you at this step). Keep your hand relaxed and still for 1 minute.
  • Step 5: Read your results
    It’s important to read your pulse oximeter the correct way. To do this you will need to turn your hand with the pulse oximeter on it so that your fingernails are pointing toward you. This will let you read and record your numbers correctly. Your blood oxygen level is the top number, displayed under the heading “%SpO2”. Your heart rate/pulse is the bottom number, just above the white heart picture.
  • Step 6: Record your results
    You will need to use the pulse oximeter three times a day. You can do this after your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Make sure you write down all of your results in the Health Diary so that when the health team calls, you can easily report back on your pulse oximeter readings. Once you have written down your results, take your finger out of the pulse oximeter and the device will turn off. It is ready to use again when you need it.


If you need medication, contact your GP/doctor and let them know that you are in home quarantine. Ask your GP to send your prescription to a pharmacy, who will then deliver the medicine to your home.

Your whānau

If you live with whānau, friends, housemates or children, you might be worried about the impacts that home quarantine will have on them.

Feeling like this is really normal, and the health team will make sure that the people you live with have the information they need to keep themselves, and you, safe.

If you are worried about your ability to care for children or older people in home quarantine
Call the health team on 0800 687 647 (free to call, 24 hours a day).

What home quarantine means for your whānau
  • Everyone you live with needs to quarantine at home for at least 20 days. This is made up of the ten days that you are in quarantine, plus another 10 days starting from the day you leave quarantine.
  • This is because they have been near you while you are infectious. They may have caught COVID-19 too, but it can take up to 10 days before they get symptoms or test positive.
  • If anyone else in your house tests positive for COVID-19, the people who have NOT tested positive for COVID-19 will have to start home quarantine again.
  • Family members you do not live with, but who are your close contacts, may also need to quarantine at their home. They will be told what they need to do by the health team.
Children & older people

Taking care of your children is your first priority, so you don’t need to quarantine away from them in your home.

If older people are part of your whānau, you might be worried about how to care for them, or what happens if they get COVID-19.

School and childcare

All children in your household will need to stay home, which means they can’t attend school or childcare.

Please contact your school to let them know that your children are unable to attend. They will be able to support your child with remote learning while they are at home.

If you don’t have devices available for your children to attend school from home, please contact the health team on 0800 687 647.

If you are worried about your ability to care for children or older people in home quarantine

Call the health team on 0800 687 647 (free to call, 24 hours a day).


There are times during home quarantine that will be hard for every whānau. Protecting your health and wellbeing is the most important thing you can do during this time to keep you and the people you live with safe and well.

Te Whare Tapa Whā
The Māori holistic model of health, Te whare tapa whā, reminds you to take care of all the different aspects of your life to support your wellbeing.


Your health and wellbeing

Taha tinana (physical health)

Fuelling your body with good food and moving your body helps you to support you to feel mentally well. Just do what you can – every bit counts. If you feel up to it, you might like to do some gentle exercise. Even though you can’t go off your property, you could do some yoga or walk around your backyard to get some fresh air.

Taha wairua (spiritual health)

Feeling a connection to your spiritual wellbeing creates connection, whether it’s tapping into your religious beliefs with prayer and karakia, or taking a quiet moment to breathe and reflect.

Taha whānau (family health)

Staying connected to the people you love helps you feel a sense of belonging. You could send a message to someone you miss, have a kōrero (chat) with a friend over the phone or organise regular phone check-ins with the people close to you.

Tana hinengaro (mental health)

Tough times affect each of us differently, and it’s okay if you’re taking things day by day. When your taha hinengaro is strong, you can express your feelings and reach out to friends and whānau. Strengthening your mental health could look like creating a space where you can go to meditate or have a quiet moment to do something nice for yourself.

Find more wellbeing ideas at allright.org.nz

Work and food

If you are unable to work from home during this time or need assistance with food, we have options to support you.


During this time, your employer (or you, if you are self-employed) may be able to apply for additional support.

For more information, Work and Income.

If you are worried about work or your finances, we can support you
Please contact the health team by calling 0800 687 647 (free to call, 24 hours a day).


There are lots of different ways that you can access kai (food) during this time.

  • If you can, ask friends or family to shop for you.
  • You can also order supplies online. Make sure any deliveries are left outside your home for you to collect.

If you need help with food and other supplies, we can support you
Please alert the health team straight away by calling 0800 687 647 (free to call, 24 hours a day).

Your pets

As part of your whānau, home quarantine will have impacts on your pets.

There is no evidence to suggest that pet dogs or cats can be a source of infection; including spreading COVID-19 to people. However to be safe, you should avoid contact with pets, as you re doing with other people in your home.

Caring for your pets
  • You cannot walk or take your pet off your property while you are isolating at home.
  • If your outside space is shared with other households, for example you live in an apartment, you will not be able to take your pet outside.
  • If you can, see if a family member or friend is able to look after your pet. They will have to collect your pet in a contactless way.

If your pet cannot exercise at home, ask someone outside of your household to walk your dog for you. They will also have to collect your pet in a contactless way.

Leaving home quarantine

The health team will advise when you are able to leave home quarantine.

If you are not sure if you can leave, please call the health team on 0800 687 647.


Leaving Whānau HQ


Returning equipment

Your equipment will be picked up 72 hours after the last person in your household is allowed to go out again. Our team will arrange for a courier to pick this up from you.

Before the courier picks up the oxygen monitor:

  1. Wash your hands for 30 seconds with soap and water, or with hand sanitizer.
  2. Wipe the oxygen monitor with the wipes in your pack.
  3. Place the oxygen monitor in the provided ‘biohazard’ bag.
  4. Wash your hands again.
  5. Place the biohazard bag containing the oxygen monitor in the provided courier bag.
  6. Wash your hands again.
  7. Drop the courier bag into the bag the courier will provide when they arrive.
If you feel unwell after you have returned to normal daily life

If you start to feel unwell, please call your doctor or the COVID Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (freephone, 24 hours a day).

In an emergency, call 111 immediately.


We're here to support you at every stage of your home isolation journey. Help is available to assist you during this time.

In an emergency - call 111

If you or a family member becomes very unwell or has difficulty breathing, immediately call an ambulance on 111.
There is no cost to call an ambulance.

If you start to feel worse

Call the health team straight away on 0800 687 647 (free to call, 24 hours a day).

If you have questions

Call the health team on 0800 687 647 (free to call, 24 hours a day).

If you or someone you live with is not safe
  • Women’s Refuge — call 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE) for 24-hour service advocacy and accommodation for women and their children experiencing family violence.
  • Shine domestic abuse services — free call 0508 744 633 (9am to 11pm) if you are experiencing domestic abuse, or want to know how to help someone else.
  • Call Oranga Tamariki on 0508 326 459 if a child or young person is unsafe, not being cared for, or separated from their parents or caregivers.
If you feel that you are not coping

If you feel you are not coping, it is important to talk with a health professional. There are helplines available that offer support, information and help. All services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Need to Talk? — free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
  • Youthline — call 0800 376 633, free text 234
  • What's Up? — call 0800 942 8787 — a safe place for tamariki and rangatahi to talk.
  • Lifeline — 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline — 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Depression and Anxiety Helpline — 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions.
  • For Pacific communities, there is targeted mental health support available by calling 0800 Ola Lelei – 0800 652 535.