Primary healthcare news, information & resources

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

This is our main page for COVID-19 updates 

The Ministry of Health advice is under active review and is updated daily. Please use their website is the source of correct and up to date information at all times -

On this page

  • Key Ministry of Health resources (including case definition, PPE guidelines)
  • Your local Pinnacle contact
  • Pinnacle guides and resources
  • Practice closures - process  
  • COVID-19 Healthline
  • Information for patients
  • Other sources of trusted COVID-19 information

Other COVID-19 information on our website

Key Ministry of Health resources

The New Zealand Ministry of Health has comprehensive information online and should be considered the 'source of truth' for the New Zealand context at all times.

Your local Pinnacle contact

Our local leads are available for questions, concerns and advice. Please also contact one of the team if you have any issues with PPE stock - all our leads are working closely with the DHB in their region.

Pinnacle guides and resources

Should I return to work doctor? Occupational health advice - updated 21 May

The decision to return, or stay away from work, is one that needs to be made between the employee and the employer.

Occupational health and safety decisions of a workplace are a specialist service. If as a GP you are asked to fulfil that role, you need to be clear about the level of training you have, and you are within your rights to say this is a specialised skill that you cannot perform.

This resource (updated 21 May) is intended to help guide you and your patient in coming to a joint understanding of risks (PDF). A sample "COVID-19 medical certificate" is also provided. 

Pinnacle pandemic escalation plan

This plan outlines the MOH pandemic response levels alongside the way general practice will manage high risk patients, low risk patients and COVID-19 testing. Download the plan (PDF).

Red, amber and green streaming

The aim of green, amber and red streaming is to manage patients as they flow through our services in a way that keeps patients and staff safe, with infection control restrictions and service provision that relates to the probabilty of exposure to infection. Download the guide (PDF).

Triage and follow up of patients with potential / proven COVID-19

Print out our flow chart for quick reference when doing phone triage or follow up (PDF) and the associated phone triage scoring systems and red flags guide (PDF). 

Pinnacle advice statement - General practice in Alert Level 2 

The implications for general practices are outlined in this statement (PDF). This advice is based on RNZCGP Level 2 principles. 

General practice pandemic plan checklist: Code Yellow, Level 3-4 public health alert activation 

Use this checklist to identify, develop and implement business continuity steps for general practices during L3 and L4 pandemic phases (PDF).

COVID-19 practice sustainability guidance

Following the first meeting on practice sustainability we put together a quick guide: COVID-19 practice sustainability guidance (PDF).

COVID-19 response - activities for nurses, primary care assistants and reception/admin teams

This document gives ideas for nurse and primary care assistant activities (PDF) that could be considered during COVID-19 lockdown period and beyond. It not a finite list and usual practice process must also be considered, along with availability of certain team roles. For more information contact Hilde Mullins, nurse lead,

We've also put together some ideas for the activities for the reception and admin teams (PDF). For more information on this document please contact your practice support.

Pinnacle primary care algorithm

Download the algorithm (PDF) - updated 17 April to include the latest case definition updates along with coding information.

Follow up with patients who have been COVID-19 tested

The clinical assessment table (PDF) can be used to decide on management of patients at follow up (an algorithm describing this in a single page is under development).

Be aware that while the prevalence of COVID-19 is very low, it is important not to miss patients who are deteriorating in the community. Please make sure you are 'safety netting' all patients and recording the advice you give.  

Thank you to Dr Nadja Gottfert for creating the clinical assessment table. 

Practice closures

If you have to close the practice (on advice from Medical Officer of Health) after a confirmed case

  • Inform the PHO CEO (phone 021 925 812  / email as soon as you know this is a necessary step.
  • Instigate your business continuity plan ( c.f. Foundation Standards).

To include:

  • inform staff of pending closure and process to follow
  • inform patients of impending closure
  • notify neighbouring practices / services of impending closure and agree process for practice patients during closure period
  • continue to provide virtual services wherever possible
  • arrange thorough cleaning of practice
  • advise regarding potential length of closure and re-opening protocol.

If you have to close the practice due to workforce issues

  • Inform the PHO CEO (phone 021 925 812  / email  ) as soon as you think this may be necessary.
  • Inform staff of pending closure and process to follow.
  • Inform patients of impending closure.
  • Notify neighbouring practices / services of impending closure and agree process for practice patients during closure period.
  • Continue to provide virtual services wherever possible.

COVID-19 Healthline

There is a dedicated Healthline for COVID-19 - 0800 358 5453 - it is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
(For international SIMs the number to call is +64 9 358 5453.)

The volume of calls to the COVID-19 Healthline can be large, so there is advice on when NOT to call them.

  • Don't call Healthline for travel advice. Visit the Safetravel website.
  • Don't call Healthline for advice on attending events. Call the event organiser or visit the Ministry of Health website for advice.
  • Don't call Healthline about general information. Call the All of Government Welfare Helpline 0800 779 997 between 8am - 1am, 7 days a week, or visit for information including health, travel, education, business and community issues.

Information for patients

The Ministry of Health maintains information for the general public on COVID-19.

We've also prepared information to assist if you are recommending self-isolation (PDF) along with red flag symptoms patients should watch out for (PDF). 

Other sources of trusted COVID-19 information

Latest News