New Zealand is currently in COVID-19 alert level 2 with health and disability care services operating as normally as possible. The Prime Minister has indicated that Cabinet will check on the level 2 settings on 8 June and have agreed to decide whether to move to level 1 no later than 22 June 2020.
In the meantime, we have been working with the Ministry on proposed alert level 1 guidelines for dental services. Once the draft guidelines have been completed, they will be reviewed by the Council’s clinical advisory group. Following this review, the draft guidelines will be shared with key associations and educational institutions for their feedback.
As we have done previously, the Council will consider consultation feedback received, revise the draft guidelines as appropriate, and seek Ministry approval.
Once the Ministry has finalised its parameters for health services under level 1, final refinements will be made and the guidelines will be submitted for final sign-off. The final guidelines will be emailed to all practitioners and published on our website once approved by Council and the Ministry.
On 27 May, the Ministry launched the Āwhina app.
This app allows health workers to access COVID-19 information from their mobile device. The emergence of COVID-19 and the response required by people working in the health and disability sector highlighted the need for a tool to provide easy access to the up-to-date information relevant to their area of work.
The Ministry developed the app with feedback from people working in the health sector. It lets you quickly filter content and sends a notification when new or updated content is available.
The information in the app is publicly available. No registration is required, and no personal information is stored. The app is available for free from the Google and Apple app stores.
The Ministry has introduced an initiative whereby front-line health and disability workers who need to stay away from their homes during COVID-19 can apply for government-funded temporary accommodation.
Workers in roles where they may have close contact with patients can qualify if they’ve been asked to relocate to a different part of the country as part of the COVID-19 response, or they live with a vulnerable person who is at higher risk of severe illness should they contract COVID-19.
If you know any providers or workers who could benefit from this initiative, please direct them to the funded temporary accommodation page on the Ministry website where they will find more information about the eligibility criteria and application process.
Andrew Gray & Marie Warner
Chair & Chief Executive