COVID-19 alert level changes

The government has announced at 11:59pm on Tuesday, 21 September 2021:

The settings will be reviewed on 4 October 2021.

In addition, “bespoke temporary restrictions” have been put in place by the Director General of Health who has issued a section 70 order requiring people who live or work in the area around Mangatangi, in northern Waikato, to stay at home and self-isolate for five days.

Alert Level 3

The Alert Level 3 guidelines have been updated, and now make provision for the delivery of all oral health care.

Other changes include:

  • Patient risk assessment questions:
    • patient risk categories reduced to two levels – low-medium or high risk
    • updated respiratory and less common symptoms
    • linking the higher index of suspicion criteria (HIS) to the presence of COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Mask requirements:
    • for low-medium risk patients, non aerosol generating procedures: change to surgical mask level 2 at minimum, ideally type IIR - which has a liquid repellent layer offering greater protection
    • all non-clinical staff within a practice are now required to wear a surgical mask, not a cloth face mask.
  • Removal of the gown requirement while cleaning and decontaminating - outer protective wear still required as per the IPC standard.
  • Close contact definition, and criteria for recovery were updated.

Alert Level 2

The Alert Level 2 guidelines already reflect provision of all oral health care and the two patient risk categories. All other corresponding changes listed above have been made to the guidelines.


In addition, please be advised the Ministry of Health amnesty for fit testing of N95/P2 particulate respirators has now ended.

The Council together with the Ministry of Health’s oral health team continue to work towards reducing restrictions on oral healthcare, where safe to do so. We are examining overseas oral health care provisions and strategically planning to update the Council’s Infection Prevention and Control Practice Standard in light of the ongoing COVID-19 challenges.

Kia noho haumaru, stay safe.

Andrew Gray (Chair) & Marie Warner (CE)