Auckland moves to COVID-19 alert level 3, rest of NZ to level 2, for three days
The Prime Minister has announced that from 11.59pm Sunday 14 February, Auckland will move to Covid-19 alert level 3 for three days. The rest of New Zealand will be in alert level 2 during this time. Unfortunately, this will mean some changes for practitioners in Auckland and the rest of the country.
What does this mean for oral health practitioners?
If you practise in the Auckland region:
This means all routine oral health treatment should be deferred, and you can only provide urgent and emergency dental care following patient triage by phone.
For practitioners in other parts of the country:
This means you can provide routine dental care and urgent or emergency dental care for those patients who fall into the low risk category as defined in the guidelines. You can provide only urgent or emergency care for patients who fall into the high risk category as defined in the guidelines.
IMPORTANT NOTE: CHANGES TO GUIDELINES
Alert level 3
Please note that the Council and the Ministry of Health approved updated alert level 3 guidelines following engagement with the Ministry’s infection prevention and control experts.
The most significant changes are:
- New stand down time requirements for Medium risk B patients when aerosol generating procedures are performed (refer to page 8 of the guidelines).
- Where a N95 or P2 particulate respirator is used, clinical staff and oral health practitioners must have received training in fit checking and undergo fit testing before use. A fit check should be done by the wearer every time (refer to page 3 of the guidelines). The Ministry of Health has guidelines on fit testing of N95 masks.
Other minor changes are listed in Appendix 2 on page 20 of the guidelines.
Alert level 2
Practitioners will also recall that the alert level 2 guidelines were updated in December 2020 removing the requirement for pre-procedural mouth rinse.
We encourage practitioners to familiarise themselves as soon as possible with the alert level guidelines that will apply to your geographical area between 14 and 17 February 2021.
Preparing for alert level changes and operating under the relevant COVID-19 public health measures has now become familiar for all health professionals in New Zealand.
We recognise that the higher alert levels impact significantly on oral health practitioners and their practices. On this occasion, the Prime Minister has indicated that a short sharp response is required to keep all New Zealanders safe while contact tracing is completed.
We all have an important role to play during this time. We will keep you updated with information about reviews to alert levels and further decisions. Thank you to all our practitioners for adhering to the guidelines and contributing to New Zealand’s COVID-19 health response. Please contact us if you have any queries or require additional information.
Andrew Gray & Marie Warner
Chair & Chief Executive