There appears to be some uncertainty about the recent communication that under alert level 3 oral health practitioners can provide oral health care for their patients that ensures a balance between patients’ access to care and protecting public safety by limiting the opportunities for COVID-19 community spread - as per the government’s direction.
The intent is for health services to continue to be available to the public, to avoid unnecessary delay in people receiving treatment and resulting in more severe or long-term complications.
Within this context and with the safeguards in the guidelines – oral health services can now be delivered more broadly.
It will remain the practitioner’s judgement on what care to offer, and how to do that safely within the requirements described in our COVID-19 guidelines.
Overall, the risk mitigation measures in terms of patient risk assessment, stand-down times after aerosol generating procedures have been performed, appropriate cleaning and decontamination, PPE and room requirements, dental team and patient management etc., will impact on your patient scheduling and prioritising of those requiring necessary care.
We know that scheduling of N95/P2 mask fit testing is challenging for those who have not completed this earlier.
In the interim period until fit testing is done, practitioners and staff should self-fit check each and every time they don a P2/N95 particulate respirator - with commitment to get the fit testing completed as soon as possible.
Thank you to those who are actively engaging with the new guidelines and ensuring you can provide a safe practice environment at this time.
Kia noho haumaru, stay safe.
Andrew Gray (Chair) & Marie Warner (CE)