New Zealand oral health practitioners,
As you will be aware the Prime Minister has announced New Zealand COVID-19 alert levels. These new alert levels specify the public health and social measures to be taken. Nationwide, New Zealand is currently at Level 2 - Reduce. This means disease is contained but the risk of community transmission is growing because we have more cases. Amongst the recommendations at Level 2 are:
- New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions told to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus, and
- Workplaces to implement plans to reduce person-to-person contact, including work from home where possible.
At Level 3 we will see alternative ways of working required and some non-essential businesses closed.
We recognise this is a difficult time for all practitioners and at this time it remains the decision of individual practitioners, whilst abiding to mandatory practice standards, to decide what services they continue to provide within their respective scopes of practice.
However, in the national interest the Dental Council and the Ministry of Health together strongly recommend that all non-essential and elective dental services, particularly those generating aerosol, should be suspended immediately to reduce the risk of community spread, including to yourself, your staff and your patients. All emergency treatment* and relief of pain should continue with appropriate precautions taken.
Together as an oral health community we can all play our part, by working through these challenges and uniting against COVID-19.
*Emergency treatment includes oral-facial trauma, significant infection, prolonged bleeding or pain which cannot be managed by medications.
New Zealand Dental Association COVID-19 Response: Interim Advice for Oral Health Practitioners (20 March 2020)