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COVID-19 Information for Dentists

 

Latest information on:

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Updated Friday 15 October

Navigating the Roadmap to Recovery

 

Lockdown restrictions across NSW have eased for fully vaccinated adults in NSW as of today, Monday 11th October. Read more
 
There is no requirement for patients to be fully vaccinated to access health care, including dental treatment as part of the easing of restrictions in NSW for vaccinated adults.
 
The requirement to prove COVID-19 vaccination status is only applicable for hospitality venues, non-critical retail stores, personal services, such as hairdressers and nail salons; and sporting, recreation and entertainment facilities and events.
 
Essential services and settings that have remained open throughout the lockdown – such as pharmacies, supermarkets, police stations, petrol stations and healthcare including GP and dental practices are still accessible for people who are not fully vaccinated.
 
ADA NSW supports the safe provision of a full range of dental care by dental practitioners throughout NSW, with COVID screening and appropriate risk-based precautions, from today.

Dental practitioners in the ACT have been able to recommence the provision of all dental services including preventative services since Friday 1 October.  The ACT’s lockdown will end at 11:59pm on Thursday 14 October and will transition to medium level public health measures.  Read more

To support our members during this period of transition, we have a range of tools and resources available on our website along with the latest updates on our COVID information web page here

As NSW  emerges from lockdown, LGAs deemed as at higher risk of COVID-19 may continue to experience lockdown periods. If this occurs dental practitioners in these affected LGAs may need to limit their provision of dental care again. As the situation is rapidly evolving we encourage members to regularly check the NSW Government website
 

Managing COVID-19 risk once lockdown restrictions ease Monday 11 October

 


‚Äč'Getting Back to Dentistry' with Kylie Robb and Kathy Dempsey
Webinar date: Streamed Wednesday 6 October

Find out what would happen if there was a COVID-19 exposure in a dental practice, what resources are available to proactively manage COVID risk and learn about steps you can take to reduce your likelihood of needing to isolate after a COVID exposure. This webinar also covers whether you need to ask your patient for their vaccination status.

To watch: Click 'play' above and 'enter full screen mode' for best view
All COVID-19 update recordings are available to ADA NSW members here

Please see below the NSW Health Exposure Risk Matrices as discussed in the webinar which can be be dowloaded here or click below.

Evidence Brief Risk Matrix Health Care Worker Exposure
Risk Matrix for Health Care Worker Exposure - Vaccinated
Risk Matrix for Health Care Worker Exposure - Unvaccinated


The NSW Government’s approach to managing COVID-19 has focused on limiting the movement of people to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in the community.
 
Vaccination has been identified as an effective measure to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in the community and the workplace.  With NSW achieving the 70% double vaccination target, restrictions to limit movement in the community are being eased.
 
Dental practitioners should review their COVID-19 Safe Plans and use a risk-based approach to support the provision of a full range of dental care for all patients. A risk-based approach would include COVID-19 vaccination of all dental team members, COVID-19 screening for staff and patients (for COVID-19 symptoms and risk locations) and the use of appropriate infection prevention and control measures (including PPE, environmental cleaning, improving ventilation, physical distancing and team training).
 
In accordance with the Dental Board of Australia Code of Conduct, ADA NSW recommends dental practitioners exercise their professional judgement to ensure that patients are not denied care if reasonable steps can be taken to keep practitioners and their staff safe. These reasonable steps could include risk-based approach measures outlined above.
 
Accordingly ADA NSW does not support the denial of the provision of dental care to patients on the basis of their vaccination status.

Dental practitioners must also consider potential patient complaints, ethical and legal issues that may arise from denying the provision of dental care to patients on the basis of their vaccination status.

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Updated Monday 11 October

ADANSW Position on COVID-19 Vaccination

ADA NSW supports vaccination against COVID-19 for all eligible members of the community. Our position aligns with the Commonwealth, NSW and ACT Health departments’ advice that vaccination of the Australian population against COVID-19 is an important and vital public health response to the pandemic. Read our position statement here.
 

COVID-19 vaccination policy for workers in dental practices

 

To support our members,  HWL Ebsworth Lawyers have provided advice in relation to ADA NSW members' ability to implement a COVID-19 vaccination policy and the various legal and practical risks and issues arising out of implementing a COVID-19 vaccination policy in a dental practice for all workers. Read here.
 
ADA NSW has arranged for our members to receive a HWL Ebsworth Lawyers general 15 minute telephone consultation regarding this advice at no cost. Book your free 15 minute telephone consultation by calling (02) 9334 8894. Please include your ADA NSW membership number in any communications. 

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Updated Friday 1 October

Mandatory Vaccinations Public Health Order

 

The Public Health (COVID 19 Vaccination of Health Care Workers) Order 2021  is now in place. We have confirmed with NSW Health that this specific Order does not include private dental practices - see the NSW Health Protection website here for more information.

Oral Health Fee for Service Scheme (OHFFSS) - Mandatory Vaccination

 

Recently, the NSW Ministry of Health (Centre for Oral Health Strategy) emailed a letter to dental practitioners registered with the OHFFSS (vouchers). The letter explains to continue seeing patients under the scheme, you will need to provide evidence of your COVID-19 vaccination status by Wednesday 01 December 2021 to
MOH-Oralhealthstrategy@health.nsw.gov.au. Failure to comply with this request will result in The Ministry removing you from the OHFFS Scheme. This results from Dentists registered with the OHFFSS being contractors of NSW Health and as such falling within the Public Health Order for the Mandatory Vaccination of Health Care Workers.

 
If you have questions about the letter or the OHFFSS scheme you can contact kara.clarke@health.nsw.gov.au at the NSW Ministry of Health of practiceservices@adansw.com.au at ADA NSW.

 
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Updated Tuesday 14 September

Rapid antigen tests for screening dental practice staff


Rapid antigen testing is a screening tool to help detect COVID-19 in people without any symptoms of COVID-19

Rapid antigen testing involves a nasal swab (using a small cotton bud) that is placed into a chemical solution. The result displays within 15 to 20 minutes. The current approach for the use of Rapid Antigen Tests in NSW is to screen employees for COVID-19 with no symptoms.

There are specific conditions for the supply and use of rapid antigen tests. These conditions are frequently updated by the TGA.

You can see the latest information and Q&A section of the TGA website here
You can see the latest information from the NSW Gov. on rapid antigen testing here 
 

PCR tests for patients before treatment


The current focus for the use of PCR COVID tests is on workers transmitting the virus in workplaces. ADA NSW strongly recommends practitioners continue to screen patients for clinical and epidemiological criteria to ensure those with any risks are referred for COVID testing.
                                                                                      
ADA NSW continues to work with our stakeholders to remain up-to-date with all public health orders and current health directives. At this time there is no advice from the NSW Government mandating patients to provide evidence of a recent negative PCR test before the provision of healthcare in private health facilities.  

Mandatory disclosure of patient’s vaccination status

The NSW Government’s approach to managing COVID-19 has focused on limiting the movement of people to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in the community.
 
Vaccination has been identified as an effective measure to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in the community and the workplace.  With NSW achieving the 70% double vaccination target, restrictions to limit movement in the community are being eased.

In accordance with the Dental Board of Australia Code of Conduct, ADA NSW recommends dental practitioners exercise their professional judgement to ensure that patients are not denied care if reasonable steps can be taken to keep practitioners and their staff safe. These reasonable steps could include risk-based approach measures outlined above.
 
Accordingly ADA NSW does not support the denial of the provision of dental care to patients on the basis of their vaccination status.
 
Dental practitioners must also consider potential patient complaints, ethical and legal issues that may arise from denying the provision of dental care to patients on the basis of their vaccination status. 

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COVID-19 Update with Kylie Robb

 

Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Presenter and ADA NSW Head of Practice Services, Kylie Robb delivered an online discussion and interactive presentation on Thursday 9 September summarising recent COVID updates for ADA NSW members and key measures to manage COVID-19 risk. Click to watch.


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Updated Friday 15 October

ACT dental practices restrictions


Dental practitioners in the ACT have been able to recommence the provision of all dental services including preventative services since Friday 1 October.  The ACT’s lockdown ended at 11:59pm on Thursday 14 October.  The ACT will now  transition to medium level public health measures.  Read more

This means that dental practitioners will be able to resume the provision of a full range of dental care for their communities with COVID screening and appropriate risk based precautions.

ADA NSW welcomes this outcome which reflects our ongoing advocacy efforts to recognise the vital importance of oral health services for the overall health and wellbeing of the community.

 

The ACT's COVID-19 Pathway Forward  

 

The ACT Government released further details on the ACT pathway forward.

The pathway will be a gradual and careful easing of social and business restrictions as the ACT increases its overall vaccination coverage. 
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Updated Monday 11 October

Pre-screening before patients arrive

 

Dental practitioners should review their COVID-19 Safe Plans and use a risk-based approach to support the provision of a full range of dental care for all patients. A risk-based approach would include COVID-19 vaccination of all dental team members, COVID-19 screening for staff and patients (for COVID-19 symptoms and risk locations) and the use of appropriate infection prevention and control measures (including PPE, environmental cleaning, improving ventilation, physical distancing and team training).

Call or SMS each patient prior to attendance to pre-screen for COVID-19 risk criteria.

Where risk criteria are identified, dental practitioners should ensure systems are in place to manage patients appropriately.
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Screening patients again at the dental practice

On arrival, re-screen each patient for symptoms when they are checked in and as part of your routine clinical assessment. 

Recommended screening questions:

- Have you had any symptoms in the last 14 days that are new:   

  • fever (37.5° or higher)

  • cough

  • sore throat

  • shortness of breath (difficulty breathing)

  • runny nose

  • loss of taste

  • loss of smell.

- Have you been in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days or been asked to self-isolate by a health official?

- Have you been at a place of high concern (close contact venue or casual contact venue) in NSW, ACT, Queensland, or Victoria?

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Online Dental Records and Consent Course

Infection Prevention and Control: Continuing to Achieve Best Practice

The premier source of contemporary infection prevention and control information for the dental profession in 2021.

Now available online: Register for our next online IPC course and tune in live from your home or office. 

REGISTER NOW


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