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COVID-19 Information for Dentists

 

Latest information on:

Click on the above topics to find your area of interest.
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Updated Monday 20 September

Limiting dental practise during the current COVID-19 outbreak

 

Effective today, restrictions in the 12 Sydney Local Government Areas (LGAs) of concern will be eased to align with the rest of Greater Sydney. Authorised workers still require travel permits to enter and leave these LGAs of concern. Read more.

The strong advocacy efforts by ADA NSW have enabled dental practitioners in these areas to revert back to the provision of essential dental care, in line with the rest of Greater Sydney. Dental practitioners in these LGAs should continue to take a risk-based approach to deferring dental care and exercise their clinical judgement to determine whether a delay in dental care would lead to adverse patient outcomes. The reason for essential dental care should be clearly documented in the patient record. Dentists should not use this guidance to return to normal practice activity. This aligns with the advice from the Dental Council of NSW (12 August).

Please click here for more information on leaving LGAs of concern as an authorised worker.

There are now two different approaches to the provision of dental care in NSW. In summary:

1.     Greater Sydney and regional NSW currently under stay-at-home orders - Essential
2.     Regional areas of NSW that are not in lockdown – Resume back to a full range of dental care
 

The ADA Dental Restriction Levels document is no longer referenced by the Dental Council of NSW, NSW Health or ADA NSW. This means that a ‘Level’ from the ADA Dental Restriction Levels document won’t be specified for your region.
 
ADA NSW will not be providing a list of what procedures are considered essential, urgent or emergency. Specific examples do not replace your professional judgement for every patient under your care. When deciding what care to defer, all dental practitioners must exercise their clinical judgement to determine whether a delay in dental care would lead to adverse patient outcomes. The reason for dental care, whether this is essential/urgent/emergency should be clearly documented in the patient record.
 

Greater Sydney and regional NSW currently under stay-at-home orders

As per the Dental Council of NSW advice - dental practitioners should take a risk-based approach to deferring dental care with a view to reducing movement of people in the community. During this time, dental practitioners must exercise their clinical judgement to determine whether a delay in essential dental care would lead to adverse patient outcomes.


Regional areas of NSW that are no longer in lockdown

As parts of regional NSW emerge from lockdown, practitioners in these areas are able to resume the provision of a full range of dental care for their communities with appropriate COVID screening and precautions in place. 

Regional LGAs deemed as at higher risk of COVID-19 will continue to experience lockdown periods. The NSW Government website has an interactive map outlining those LGAs that are coming out of and remaining in lockdown. As the situation is rapidly evolving we encourage members to continue to check this daily to confirm the status of their LGA. Read more. 
 

COVID-19 Update with Kylie Robb

 

IPC Presenter and ADA NSW Practice Services Manager Kylie Robb delivered Part 2 of an online discussion and interactive presentation on Thursday 9 September summarising recent COVID updates for ADA NSW members. Click to watch.

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Updated Monday 20 September

Roadmap to freedom

 

The NSW Government has released a Roadmap to Freedom which outlines the transition from lockdown for adults who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from the Monday after NSW passes the 70% double vaccination target. Read more.

As we approach these targets, ADA NSW continues to advocate on behalf of our members about the vital importance of oral health services for the overall health and wellbeing of the community. Once the NSW and ACT roadmap vaccination targets are reached, ADA NSW will support the safe provision of the full range of dental care by dental practitioners, with appropriate COVID screening and precautions.
 

The ACT's COVID-19 Pathway Forward

 

Andrew Barr today announced that the ACT is likely to wait until 80% of the population aged 16 and over is fully vaccinated before major changes are made to lockdown conditions. Read more.

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Updated Monday 20 September

Mandatory Vaccinations

 

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.

Mandatory vaccinations still apply to authorised workers who need to leave their local government area of concern for work – even with the latest easing of restrictions announced today - this could include any member of the dental practice team. This requirement for vaccination is not related to the mandatory vaccination of health care workers Order. 
 
We are seeking guidance to support practitioners to develop their own vaccination policies and will advise the membership accordingly. 

Mandatory Vaccinations for workers leaving LGAs of concern

From 20 September 2021 you will only be able to leave your local government area for work if you have:

  1. had at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or   

  2. evidence of a medical exemption.

Read more here.

Authorised workers who unable to have a COVID-19 vaccine can request a COVID 19 vaccination exemption for medical reasons.   

To check which LGA you, your staff and patients are located within click here
ADA HR have developed a fact sheet on vaccinations. Read more
 

ADA NSW 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.

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Service NSW Permits

 

You will need to register your travel within NSW if leaving Greater Sydney or leaving or entering an LGA of concern for work.  This requirement has not changed, even though restrictions for practising dentistry in these areas have eased.

If you are not leaving or entering an LGA of concern or travelling further than 50 kilometres from Greater Sydney then you do not need an authorised worker permit.

You can register online for an authorised worker permit here.
To check which LGA you, your staff and patients are located within click here


Greater Sydney COVID-19 surveillance tests

 

If you live in or are staying in Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains and Wollongong, and you need to travel further than 50kms or more outside of Greater Sydney for work you must have a COVID-19 test in the 7 days before working. You do not have to self-isolate when you are waiting for your test results. This could apply to steriliser service technicians and other contractors who need to travel from Sydney to provide an essential service for your practice.

If you are a worker that satisfies this criteria, you must have proof of your;

  • COVID-19 test such as an SMS text message on your phone or an email addressed to you

  • home address or temporary accommodation in Greater Sydney.

You are allowed to ask a person who is at your premises to show you proof that they have had a COVID-19 test in the past 7 days.

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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


At the present time the NSW Government have not provided advice on the use of COVID PCR surveillance testing for patients in private healthcare settings. The current focus 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

At this time there is no advice mandating patients to provide evidence of COVID-19 vaccination before the provisions of healthcare in private health facilities. With the current Roadmap to Freedom, declaration of vaccination status is related to environments such as retail and hospitality, entertainment venues and gyms.

The current focus is on workers transmitting the virus in workplaces. ADA NSW strongly recommends practitioners continue to screen patients and their teams for clinical and epidemiological criteria to ensure those with any risks are referred for COVID testing. 

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Updated Monday 20 September

ACT dental practices restrictions

 

In response to ongoing concerns about community transmission, the ACT Government has announced an extension of the current lockdown restrictions for the ACT for a further four weeks, until 11:59pm on Friday 15 October 2021. Read more.

All ACT dental practitioners should continue to take a risk-based approach to deferring dental care and exercise their clinical judgement to determine that dental services are limited to patients with urgent needs, or where failure to provide care in a clinically appropriate timeframe will lead to adverse outcomes. When urgent dental care is carried out, the reason should be clearly documented in the patient record.


The ACT's COVID-19 Pathway Forward  

 

Andrew Barr today announced that the ACT is likely to wait until 80% of the population aged 16 and over is fully vaccinated before major changes are made to lockdown conditions. Read more.
 
As we approach these targets, ADA NSW continues to advocate on behalf of our members about the vital importance of oral health services for the overall health and wellbeing of the community. Once the NSW and ACT roadmap vaccination targets are reached, ADA NSW will support the safe provision of the full range of dental care by dental practitioners, with appropriate COVID screening and precautions.
 

ACT COVID-19 Business Support Grants


To support Canberrans significantly impacted by the lockdown, the ACT Government will extend and expand a range of financial support measures. Click here for more information.


All ADA NSW members can receive a Cutcher and Neale general consultation (telephone or web also available) at no cost. Book your free consultation by calling 1800 988 522 or email dental@cutcher.com.au. Please include your ADA NSW membership number in any communications.

Please call the Practice Services team on (02) 8436 9927 or email us at practiceservices@adansw.com.au if you have further queries.

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Updated Tuesday 14 September

Expanded NSW COVID financial support package


All ADA NSW members can receive a Cutcher and Neale general consultation (telephone or web also available) at no cost. Book your free consultation by calling 1800 988 522 or email dental@cutcher.com.au. Please include your ADA NSW membership number in any communications.

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Updated Monday 20 September

Pre-screening before patients arrive

 

If your patient is under stay-at-home orders, please take a risk-based approach to provide dental care balanced with the need to reduce movement of people in the community before confirming your appointment and pre-screening.

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?

- Are you from an area currently under stay-at-home orders?

(Patients living in regional NSW that are still under stay-at-home restrictions should only be leaving their LGA for essential dental care).
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Face masks in dental practices across NSW and ACT


Masks are still mandatory for all indoor non-residential premises across NSW.  Therefore, all practice team members and visitors must wear masks while indoors and patients must wear masks before and after treatment.

NSW Health recommend health care workers wear surgical masks while at work, not cloth masks. Cloth masks can be worn by health care workers outside the (dental practice) e.g. traveling to and from work.

ADA NSW recommends all practice team members, such as non-clinical reception teams, wear surgical masks while at work.  

Wearing face masks are mandatory in the ACT from 5pm Thursday 12 August 2021. Anyone aged 12 years and over must wear masks at all times when leaving home, including workplaces. There are some exemptions.
Read more
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QR Codes and electronic check-in guidance 

Use of the Service NSW QR code is now mandatory at all workplaces and retail businesses. This includes people who work and visit dental practices.
 
From Monday 12 July, except for the patient, everyone must check-in to a practice using the Service NSW app when they arrive – this applies to every practice in NSW – not just those within the Greater Sydney or Hunter and Upper Hunter regions.

This means it is mandatory for all dentists and their teams to check-in with the Service NSW app when they arrive at work and every person who enters the practice (except for the patient) also needs to check in. This also applies to practices within a multi-tenancy site. Everyone, including delivery drivers, couriers and parents and carers who may accompany a patient to a practice but are not a patient must check in if they enter your practice.

ADA NSW supports efficient and contactless customer record keeping for the purpose of COVID-19 contact tracing. We recommend practices simply ask everyone to check-in when they arrive - including patients.

Reasonable steps must be made to ensure people can provide their contact details to you when they enter the practice. This includes:

  • Displaying the QR code in a prominent location

  • Remind people to check in when they enter the practice

  • Where possible, keep an eye out for new people who have entered the practice

  • Ask to see the ‘green tick’ on the Service NSW app and check that it relates to your practice.

If it is not possible for a person to check in using their phone, then there must be an alternate sign-in method at the practice. You then have 12 hours to register these contact details with Service NSW.

Please click here to set up a QR Code for your practice. 

Please click here to read the NSW Government website information on mandatory QR Codes.

Please click here for information for people who don't have a smartphone and can't check-in using the QR Code.

Asking patients and visitors to check-in is not the same as screening. Please ensure the outcome of each patient’s screening process is documented in their clinical record. Please click here to set up a QR Code for your practice.

 

Mandatory use of the CBR App for the Australian Capital Territory


The Check In CBR app is mandatory for a range of business settings. We have spoken to the Access Canberra Business Liaison team and they have confirmed that checking in is not mandatory for a private office based dental practice. 

ADA NSW supports efficient and contactless customer record keeping for the purpose of COVID-19 contact tracing. We recommend practice teams do adopt the Check In CBR and simply ask everyone to check-in when they arrive – this includes staff and patients.

To register your practice for the Check In CBR app click here

For people not wanting or unable to use the Check in CBR app please click here for more details.

If you need to help to set up the QR Code check-in for your practice, we can help you – please call the Practice Services team on (02) 8436 9927 or email us at practiceservices@adansw.com.au
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Vaccine Hesitancy


The Australian Government have developed two resources to support the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Please share these resources with your team and encourage them to ask questions and discuss their concerns. 

Australian Government Resources

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


MEMBER SERVICES

 

COVID-19 SUPPORT SERVICES

ADA NSW PRACTICE SERVICES

P: (02) 8436 9927
E:
practiceservices@adansw.com.au
For member enquiries

ADA HR ADVISORY SERVICE  
P: 1300 232 462
E: hrhotline@ada.org.au 
For workplace health and safety, leave entitlements and employer responsibilities


ADA NSW CPD 
P:1800 737 346

E: admin@adacpd.com.au  
For course updates and continuing professional development enquiries
 

PUBLIC INFORMATION
 

COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR DENTAL PATIENTS: CLICK HERE >

AUS GOVERNMENT CORONAVIRUS HEALTH INFO LINE

P: 1800 020 080
24hr/day, 7 day/week hotline

HEALTHDIRECT HOTLINE
P: 1800 022 222
For health concerns