COVID-19: Preparing for COVID-19 in your home

Keeping your whānau safe

Key points about preparing to have COVID-19 in your home

  • With COVID-19 circulating in the community, it is possible someone in your household might become ill with COVID.
  • Here are a few tips for understanding what that means and how to prepare your whānau.
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If you test positive for COVID-19, make sure you get the help you need. For medical help, talk to your GP or call the COVID Healthline on 0800 358 5453. If you need welfare support, this link gives you information(external link) on what support is available. Most people will be able to isolate and recover in their own homes.

When one person tests positive for COVID-19, it is recommended other household members do a rapid antigen test (RAT) each day for 5 days. It is also advisable for other whare members to avoid contact with the person who has COVID. 

Isolating means you need to remain at home and shouldn’t go to work, school, public areas or use public transport. You won't be able to go out to buy food or other essentials so you will need to make arrangements, eg, having groceries and medicines delivered to your home, or asking those in your household who aren't isolating to collect them for you. Or you could ask a friend or whānau member to drop off supplies. You should avoid close contact with others by:

  • not having visitors
  • not using taxis or public transport
  • asking a friend or neighbour to get your shopping or arranging for a delivery to be left at your door
  • not sharing towels, clothes, toothbrushes or razors.

This situation can be overwhelming for family/whānau. Here are a few tips on how to prepare your family/whānau for the possibility of a family member becoming ill with COVID-19.

Everyone's living situation is different. You may be in a large family/whānau, living together with grandparents, aunties, uncles, school-aged children and toddlers, or you may be in a flatting situation, or you may be living alone. Korero with the members of your household so that everyone understands how things will need to change if someone is COVID-19 positive. Then make a plan for how you are going to get things done and meet the specific needs of all family/whānau members. 

If anyone in your household needs specific care services, eg, disability, mental health or addiction support, they should talk to their support staff to make sure they can still get the support they need if they get COVID-19. A useful plan for you to fill in(external link) is provided by Regional Public Health.

You may want to be prepared by making sure you have an idea of who can help your household with the shopping, buying of medicines, etc. Have a contact list of people or organisations you can reach out to.

The following provides very useful advice on what to consider when preparing for COVID-19 in your home.



#Protect Te Moananui a Kiwa
Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai Charitable Trust, NZ, 2021

When somebody in your home has tested positive for COVID-19 they will need to stay at home to help stop the spread of the virus. Household members will be able to get supplies from the supermarket, pharmacy or roadside stalls. Remember that some supermarkets enable you to order groceries online for pick up or home delivery. Most pharmacies offer a medicine delivery service.  Read more about accessing food and other essential supplies(external link).

The following is a list of things it would be useful to have put aside in your home to plan ahead and prepare for the situation where you need to isolate at home:

  • You can use it for guidance in making your own list of back-up supplies to get ahead of time.
  • If you don't have enough money to stock up on lots of things at once, perhaps you could add a few items in each week and gradually build up some extra supplies.
  • If you need financial help when self-isolating due to COVID-19, Work and Income(external link) may be able to help
  • In making your list, think about the sorts of meals and snacks you can prepare easily, in case you are feeling unwell and finding it hard to cook normally. Make sure they are meals your whānau like so that food doesn't get wasted.
  • Consider the food/kai needs of all members of your household – including your pets!
  • You could also make a few family meals (eg, casseroles, pasta dishes) and keep them in the freezer so that they only have to be defrosted and reheated when needed.

Food items/kai

Medicines and other items

  • Fresh fruit that will keep – apples, oranges
  • Tinned foods – beans, tomatoes, corn, soups, fruit, fish
  • Frozen vegetables and fruit
  • Frozen meat, fish, bread
  • Longlife milk or milk products – UHT milk, milk powder, evaporated milk
  • Pasta 
  • Rice and other grains, rolled oats
  • Cereals
  • Nut butters – peanut butter, tahini, almond butter
  • Other spreads – vegemite, honey
  • Baking supplies – flour, baking powder, baking soda and yeast
  • Crackers, crispbreads
  • Healthy snacks – nuts, dried fruit, popcorn, dark chocolate
  • Tea, coffee, fruit juice
  • Herbs and spices for flavouring
  • Soy sauce, vinegar, cooking oil
  • Pet food – dry and canned
  • Pet litter
  • The usual medicines needed for all members of your household
  • Paracetamol – appropriate types for ages of people in your whare/household 
  • Paper tissues, toilet paper
  • Personal hygiene – soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Baby/pēpi and other specific supplies if needed, eg, continence and sanitary needs
  • First aid supplies 
  • Spare batteries, chargers, candles
  • Cleaning products – household cleaners, washing up liquid, washing detergent, cloths
  • Bin liners
  • Books, puzzles, toys for entertainment 


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