As the COVID-19 global pandemic continues, New Zealanders continue to rely heavily on healthcare and other workers at our borders and in MIQFs to keep the virus out of New Zealand communities. In a very real sense they stand between us and the virus.
In return they deserve to be treated well by the rest of society, including by their own healthcare providers. The Dental Council thanks all our practitioners who have ensured our frontline border and MIQ workers are able to get all the care they and their families need.
Of course, it is understandable some practitioners may have initial concern about treating someone who works at the border or in a MIQF. However, every step is taken to keep them safe from COVID-19. It is worth remembering that they:
- operate at constant Alert Level 4 settings (the highest we have)
- follow strict infection prevention control (IPC) measures and have all the required PPE
- have daily health checks and are regularly tested for COVID-19, in many cases weekly
- work in facilities that are regularly cleaned (and deep cleaned if a case is detected) and are audited for IPC compliance.
With all these precautions in place, the risks to these frontline staff, their families and others they interact with have been assessed as minimal. Likewise, the partners/spouses and children of workers can follow their normal routines, subject only to any current Alert Level restrictions.
Added to this, joint Ministry of Health and Dental Council advice is available to further ensure any contact with someone presenting with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 can be handled safely, regardless of the Alert Level.
It is quite safe to treat these people and their families with the right precautions following the MOH/Council guidelines, and of course it is their right under the Code of Rights.