The announcement made from the Prime Minister earlier this afternoon is that:
- From 11:59pm on Sunday 30 August, Auckland will move to Alert Level 2 with heightened public measures-described by the Prime Minister as alert level “2.5”. Masks should be worn and there will still be restrictions on gatherings, funerals and tangihanga. This will remain in place until at least Sunday 6 September 2020.
- the rest of New Zealand will remain at alert level 2.
What does this mean for oral health practitioners in Auckland?
The key measures for COVID-19 alert level 2 in Auckland relate to limits to social gatherings of Aucklanders and the wearing of masks in public. Specifically:
- All gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people.
- Aucklanders are strongly encouraged to cover their faces while in public spaces.
- Customer-facing businesses should revert back to the protocols implemented under COVID-19 alert level 2 last time – the expectations are the same.
Practitioners and their staff should follow the rules on social gatherings and wearing of masks, as per the government’s instructions. As these changes relate to public measures, no changes are considered necessary to the alert level 2 guidelines for oral health care provision.
If you practise in the Auckland region (Auckland Council Area), the COVID-19 alert level 2 guidelines for oral health services, dated 24 August 2020, will apply from 11:59pm 30th August.
This means for low risk patients all routine oral health treatment can proceed following assessment of the patient’s COVID-19 risks. You can provide only urgent or emergency care for patients who fall into the high risk category as defined in the guidelines.
Robust patient assessment to determine the risk for COVID-19 will be key, and practitioners are encouraged to confirm that these processes are up-to-date, followed and any potential risks managed effectively.
If a low risk patient has respiratory symptoms, consider whether treatment can be deferred until the patient has recovered. If treatment cannot be deferred:
- provide the patient with a face mask to wear when they arrive at the practice
- keep them 2 metres away from others or move them directly into a single room if available
- if your staff cannot maintain the 2 metre physical distancing then provide them with a surgical mask as well.
Thank you for your ongoing efforts to keep New Zealand safe!
Andrew Gray & Marie Warner
Chair & Chief Executive