The Prime Minister has announced that due to an identified COVID-19 community case, New Zealand will move to COVID-19 alert level 4 from 11:59pm, Tuesday 17 August.
- 7 days for Auckland and Coromandel
- 3 days for the rest of the country.
A reminder that under the COVID-19 alert level 4 guidelines:
- You can provide ONLY urgent and emergency care for your patients. You must all other care.
- Triage all patients by phone first and decide whether they require urgent or emergency care.
- If a patient’s dental condition can be diagnosed and effectively managed without needing to see the patient, then that should be the preferred option.
- Effective management of the patient’s dental condition may be possible with medication alone. Follow the rules for electronic prescriptions to support virtual care in the community, published 2020.
- If you need to see the patient for a face-to-face assessment and/or for treatment, to effectively manage their urgent/emergency dental condition, you can see the patient if you can meet the room and PPE requirements, as defined in the COVID-19 alert level 4 guidelines.
- If you are unable to meet these requirements, and the patient requires urgent or emergency care, then refer the patient to where they can receive care.
Also note, the Ministry of Health has made recent changes to PPE requirements. This resulted in the COVID-19 guidelines for oral health services being updated as follows:
- For the medium risk A patient risk group, the mask requirement has changed from a surgical mask to a N95 or P2 particulate respirator. This now means that, clinical team members must wear a N95 or P2 particulate respirator when providing care for patients in the Medium risk A, Medium risk B and High risk categories – regardless of whether the procedure will generate aerosol or not.
We appreciate that the alert level changes come at very short notice, and may cause a lot of pressure on patients, practitioners and staff.
We hope that the country’s quick response can limit further spread of COVID-19 in our community, and restrict the duration of the lockdown.
We understand this is a difficult time for practitioners. Take care and stay safe everyone!
Andrew Gray & Marie Warner
Chair & Chief Executive