Restrictions and directions

Visiting restrictions

Due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in our Cairns and Hinterland region, the following important changes have been implemented in ALL our facilities across the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service.

Most of our hospitals will be providing treatment to patients who are COVID-19 positive that are really unwell, and require hospitalisation.  Your safety and that of your family and loves ones - is our priority.

Hospital visitors are ONLY permitted if they are visiting a patient of the hospital who:

  • Is a child
  • Is being provided end-of-life care
  • Is being provided maternity or pregnancy related care
  • Has a disability and required support from a disability support worker or an informal carer

Other visitors may be permitted to enter the hospital on a case-by-case basis, under special circumstances.

Maternity visitors

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, we are limiting maternity visitors to all our hospitals as follows.

  • One visitor at a time - per woman. All visitors must be fully vaccinated unless they are the partner or support person.
  • No children are permitted.
  • Exemptions may apply in exceptional circumstances.

These restrictions are in place to protect you and your newborn. If you are unsure or wish to seek an exemption, please contact the midwifery unit manager before visiting.

Emergency Department

  • No visitors are permitted in Emergency Departments at this time – exceptions apply:
  • End of life
  • Children
  • Patient has a disability and requires support from a disability support worker or an informal carer.
  • Exemptions may apply in exceptional circumstances.

Liz Plummer Cancer Care

Visitors are only permitted for:

  • End of life care (1-2 visitors at a time)
  • Support workers and informal carers
  • Exemptions may apply in exceptional circumstances.

These restrictions are in place to protect you and your loved one. If you are unsure or wish to seek an exemption, please contact the Cancer Care Unit Manager before visiting.


Visitors must be fully vaccinated and must wear a face mask at all times. Some exemptions may apply for unvaccinated visitors (e.g. supporting a child).

Thank you for your understanding, and helping us keep our patients and staff safe from COVID-19.

COVID-19 check in (Check in Qld)

If you’re visiting any of our hospitals or health services, you’ll need to check in and check out. We use this information to help with contact tracing if there’s an outbreak of COVID-19.

You can sign in when you arrive by scanning a QR code using your phone camera or the free Check in Qld app.

Checking in

  • Open the camera app on your phone and point it at the QR code, and you’ll be prompted to open 'the Check in Qld app.
  • Alternatively, open the Check in Qld app and scan directly from the app.
  • You can download the Check in Qld app on the App Store (Apple) or Google Play (Android).
  • If you’re having trouble signing in or you don’t have a phone, please see one of our staff members who will help you.

Your privacy and information

We respect the privacy of all patients, families and visitors.

Read more about how we manage your data.

Current changes to elective surgery and outpatient appointments

An important role of Queensland Health is to do everything possible to contain the spread of COVID-19 within our communities. Queensland Health is committed to ensuring our hospitals are well equipped to respond to an increase in demand on our Hospital and Health Services because of the COVID-19 outbreak and to ensuring the most time-sensitive and medically necessary care, whether COVID-19 related or not, can be delivered.

As the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service deals with this unprecedented situation, some services will be impacted.

Affected patients may have received a notification to advise that their appointment or procedure:

  • has been moved
  • has been changed to a telephone or telehealth appointment where appropriate
  • has been cancelled and postponed
  • remains unchanged

We aim to provide information in response to questions about why and how appointments or procedures have changed in response to COVID-19.

Should you require further information about your affected appointment or procedure please call 07 4226 3600.

  • Decisions regarding changes to outpatient appointments are based on (but are not limited to):

    • The need to limit potential COVID-19 exposure for patients and staff by postponing non-urgent outpatient appointments and elective surgeries to limit the number of people in the facility and enabling physical distancing.  Utilising technology such as telehealth and phone clinics to minimise physical contact where possible.
    • The need to conserve personal protective equipment, such as surgical face masks and gowns, for the most critically unwell patients requiring urgent care.
    • Ensuring there are enough staff and resources to manage and care for the most critically unwell patients.
  • If you have received notification that your appointment has changed to a phone or telehealth appointment it is because your clinical team are confident that they can provide you with the care you need without physical contact. This is important to protect both yourself and staff to minimise the unnecessary risk of exposure to COVID-19.

  • The Queensland Health Telehealth Portal provides an easy, safe and secure way to videoconference (VC) with your doctor or health professional from within a web browser on your personal computer (PC), laptop or Mac; or through an app on your tablet or smart phone.

    If you have received a notice that your appointment has changed to a telehealth appointment you will be contacted with further information and support on how to set up telehealth on your personal device.
    Your appointment will still be conducted by a clinician from your treating team. Depending on your situation, your clinical team may include a specialist doctor, a medical registrar, a specialist nurse or an allied health clinician such as a pharmacist.

    Telehealth allows you to see, hear and speak to your treating clinical team from the comfort of your own home.

    To find out more about telehealth, search for ‘Telehealth Queensland’ on Google.

  • Yes, you will be offered another date for your scheduled care as soon as possible when the risk of COVID-19 to patients and staff has reduced. You will remain on the wait list and will not lose your position on the waiting list.

    While responding to COVID-19, clinical teams are triaging patients to ensure the most urgent patients are seen first.

    Please continue to monitor your condition with your General Practitioner (GP).

    If your condition is too serious to wait, you should present to the closest emergency department or call 000.

  • Contact your General Practitioner (GP) to discuss your care and for advice on how to manage your condition. If required, your GP may contact the hospital for advice or to request that your appointment / procedure be rescheduled.

    If your condition is too serious to wait or is an emergency, call 000 and ask for an ambulance, or attend your closest hospital emergency department.

  • To ensure the health and wellbeing of all patients and staff, if you are currently:

    • in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19 (including waiting for a test result),
    • sick or have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild,
    • are unable to attend your appointment for other reasons,

    You must let the hospital know as soon as possible on 07 4226 3600 so they can notify your treating team and arrange another date for your appointment.

  • Your clinical team has requested that your outpatient appointment / elective surgery procedure go ahead as it is not clinically appropriate to delay your care.

    Our specialists are determining which outpatient appointments / elective surgery procedures proceed and when, to ensure the safety of both patients and staff.

    • A hospital staff member may contact you to inform you of any COVID-19 testing requirements and to confirm your vaccination status. The staff member may ask a number of clinical screening questions including if you have any signs or symptoms and if you have had any exposure to COVID-19.
    • To practice physical distancing (staying 1.5 metres away from others where possible) and to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Queensland Health has introduced temporary changes to visitor arrangements.
    • From 17 December 2021, only fully vaccinated persons can visit vulnerable facilities for any reason and unvaccinated persons for limited reasons (e.g. end of life, parent or guardian, legal advocacy.)
    • A person is considered to be fully vaccinated if they have supporting evidence that proves their vaccination status, indicates they have a recognised medical contraindication, or are a COVID-19 vaccine trial participant.
    • It is recommended that you contact the hospital directly to confirm their visitation rules and visiting hours, before leaving home.
    • All admission, waiting and consultation areas, toilets, and shared spaces are being frequently cleaned and hand sanitising facilities are available throughout the hospital for your use.
    • If you are unwell, please phone the hospital prior to arriving for your appointment.
    • From 9 July 2021, hospitals must collect contact information of visitors, volunteers and contractors using the ‘Check In Qld’ government app, unless an exception applies. This is so public health officials can contact individuals in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 in Queensland.

Venues of concern and hotspots

As of 31 December 2021, Queensland Health will no longer routinely list exposure sites in Queensland, except for major outbreak venues or super-spreader events, since transmission of COVID-19 is now widespread throughout metropolitan, regional and remote Queensland.

Any movement through the Queensland community should be considered as a risk for COVID-19 infection. So make sure to maintain social distancing, perform regular hand hygiene, monitor for symptoms, and get tested if you develop any symptoms.

Information on definitions and requirements for confirmed cases and close contacts have also been updated.

Hotspots and border zones

Read more about COVID-19 hotspots and border zones.


Read more about quarantine rules in Queensland.

Public Health Directions

Last updated: January 2022