Novel Coronavirus (SARS-C0V-2)

A novel type of coronavirus, known as COVID-19 (the pathogen is called SARS-CoV-2) has been identified as originating in the Wuhan, Hubei province of China. Symptoms are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza, including fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Information is being updated daily on the Ministry of Health website, or check out our other resources – all previous updates and resources are available on COVID-19 Updates & Resources. Clinical pathways have been developed and are available on Community HealthPathways.

The CPRG Primary Emergency Operations Centre team have developed plans in order to be prepared to escalate or de-escalate the emergency response, depending on the prevalence of the virus in the community. The draft planning document can be viewed here:

Case Definition

The case definition for COVID-19 is subject to change as more is known about the epidemiology of the virus as well as its clinical presentation. Patients must be assessed and meet the case definition, i.e., be symptomatic, in order to be swabbed, unless a clear directive has come for surveillance activity. Some patients may require testing before travel; these can be treated as private testing and should not be claimed through COVID funding.


Testing Centres

  • Most general practices are testing their patients who meet the case definition. There are times when a patient needs to be tested and they are unable to get an appointment at their practice, or they need to be tested out of hours, or they are not enrolled in a general practice. In those situations they may be directed to a community-based assessment centre. No ERMS referrals are necessary. If you have assessed your patient but are unable to do the test you can still claim funding for the assessment.
  • Community-based Testing Centres (or CBACs) are open at:
    • Whanau Ora at Nga Hau e Wha marae, 250 Pages Road. Walk-ins welcome, no referral necessary. Open 7 days, 9am-4pm.
    • 174 Orchard Road. Open 7 days, 9am-4pm. Walk-ins welcome, no referral necessary.
    • Ashburton Hospital. Open Tues, Thurs and Sat, 10am-2pm. Walk-ins welcome, no referral necessary.
  • A mobile testing service is also still available for people unable to see their GP or go to a CBAC. Contact the EOC to arrange for this service –
  • After hours’ centres may also be able to swab if required out-of-hours.

Follow Up

For more information and resources for general practices, pharmacies and other community health facilities on the COVID-19, go to our Updates & Resources page, Community HealthPathways, or the Ministry of Health website. The Ministry has also launched a Facebook page:


  • Clinical guidelines specifically for community pharmacy can now be found on Community HealthPathways.
  • MoH guidelines for PPE use in community pharmacy can be found here.
  • Community pharmacy are looking for locum pharmacists and technicians. Register your interest with Canterbury Community Pharmacy Group (CCPG) via their link.