Media advisory #6 New restrictions on visiting Whanganui Hospital in response to COVID-19 Level 4




25 March 2020


In line with government direction, Whanganui Hospital is closed to almost all visitors, and people accompanying their loved ones to essential appointments, as of 11.59pm on Wednesday, 25 March.


This temporary restriction does not apply to visiting patients in the Critical Care Unit (CCU), the maternity unit, and those patients receiving end of life care.


These cases will be looked at individually and, if visiting is approved, there will be a maximum of one visitor, who will be screened, for patients in the Critical Care Unit (CCU) and those receiving end of life care.


For maternity services, where there is no suspicion of COVID-19 for either the patient or visitors, up to two visitors (one partner and one birthing partner) can accompany patients into the birthing suite.


Whanganui District Health Board chief executive Russell Simpson says he understands how extremely difficult this will be for patients and their families/whānau.


“Unfortunately, we have no choice. I ask our community to work with us in these uncertain days. Health care workers across the region are committed to keeping essential health services open and to keeping the hospital as safe as possible for patients and staff.”


He emphasises that the rules around visitors are subject to change as national guidance comes through from the government and Ministry of Health.


Key Whanganui Health information

  • There have been no cases of coronavirus COVID-19 in the region as at 12noon Wednesday, 25 March 2020.

  • From midnight Wednesday, 25 March, 2020, hospital visiting is only for patients at end stage of life, in the Critical Care Unit and in the maternity unit.

  • Essential health services such as GPs, pharmacies are operating through the lockdown in the Whanganui region.

  • Whanganui hospital is open 24/7 for acute cases and those patients who need urgent care.

  • A community-based assessment centre (CBAC) to assess possible coronavirus COVID-19 cases has opened in the grounds of Whanganui Hospital.

  • Other assessment centres have opened at Gonville Health and Te Oranganui to serve their local communities.

  • We ask people to stay home, and to look after themselves and the people they care most for.

  • We can slow the spread if we all work together.

  • Remember to regularly wash your hands and dry them well.

  • And always cough and sneeze into your elbow.


If you are unwell:


Phone the COVID-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453.


If you are going to your general practice (GP) - phone first.


If you are so unwell you need to come to the hospital ED - phone first.