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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 Wednesday 1 December
 

Updated guidance for confirmed cases of COVID-19

 

Rules for vaccinated close contacts of COVID-19 have changed. Fully vaccinated people who have been told they are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 only need to isolate for 7 days and can leave self-isolation after 7 days if their day 6 test is negative, they feel well and have had no further contact with a COVID-19 positive person.

However, for the following 7 days (from day 8-14 inclusive) the contact cannot enter a high risk setting which currently includes healthcare.

For more information for how NSW Health is managing identified close contacts of COVID-19 – click here.

In the ACT, high risk settings have been defined and include hospitals, residential aged care facilities, correctional and detention facilities and residential accommodation facilities that support people who require frequent, close personal care and who are vulnerable to severe disease.

Therefore, a dental practice is not considered a high risk setting in the ACT.
For more information for how ACT Health is managing identified close contacts of COVID-19 – click here
 

Release and recovery from COVID-19

 

NSW Health have information available that describes the process for when someone can leave self-isolation after they have recovered from COVID-19 and are deemed to be no longer infectious.

This process includes the provision of a medical clearance notice to the person who is able to leave self-isolation and the recommendation to not have routine COVID-19 testing when the person does not have symptoms as COVID testing may continue to give a positive result even though the person is no longer infectious.

For more information about the process for people who have recovered from COVID-19
click here
 

Updated guidance for returned travellers from overseas
 

Rules for mandatory quarantine haved changed in response to the emergence of the Omicron Variant of concern, NSW has introduced changes to quarantine arrangements for international arrivals.   This means some passengers must go to a quarantine facility and others must self-isolate at home for at least three days.

All fully vaccinated arrivals need to follow NSW Health guidelines for recent fully vaccinated arrivals, which includes the requirement to not enter high risk settings until a negative result is received from the day 7 test. This includes arrivals from New Zealand.
This does not include patients accessing personal medical care, aged or disability care services.

Dental restrictions eased from Monday 11 October

 

Lockdown restrictions across NSW eased for fully vaccinated adults in NSW on Monday 11th October. Read more

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.

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 on Thursday 14 October.  Further easing of restrictions for the ACT community began on Thursday 28 October.  Read more

As NSW and the ACT 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 or ACT Government websites respectively.

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COVID Update Friday 22 October
 

Learn more about easing of dental restrictions with a community that is largely vaccinated and resources available to you to manage COVID risk. This update was part of the live and online IPC Course held recently and discusses asking patients for their vaccination status, mandatory PCR tests for patients, the use of Rapid Antigen Tests in dental practices and, briefly, how to use the NSW Health - Health Care Worker Covid-19 Exposure Matrix.
 


‚Äč'Managing COVID-19 during Lockdown 2.0 with Kylie Robb'
Webinar date: Streamed Friday 22 October


To watch: Click 'play' above and 'enter full screen mode' for best view
Content recorded: Wednesday 20 October
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'Getting Back to Dentistry' with Kylie Robb and Kathy Demsey

Webinar date: Streamed live on 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

 


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NSW COVID-19 Health Care Worker (HCW) Exposure Matrix


On 8 October, NSW Health released a HCW Exposure Risk Assessment Matrix to assist healthcare facilities to assess staff who have been exposed to COVID-19. This matrix is described in more detail in the above recorded webinars.

The matrix is to designed to help risk assess staff when there has been contact with someone in the workplace that has been diagnosed with COVID-19. This exposure could come from a visitor, patient, contractor or another staff member.



When appropriate PPE has been used, healthcare workers can be very confident they are adequately protected.

Please see below the NSW Health Exposure Risk Matrices as discussed in the webinar with Kylie Robb and Kathy Dempsey which can be be dowloaded here or click below.

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

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Guidance for businesses with a worker who tests positive for COVID-19


A business owner or employer might be notified that a worker who has attended the workplace has tested positive for COVID-19 by:

  • public health authorities

  • the worker who has tested positive

  • an employer of a worker who visits the workplace.

The privacy and confidentiality of the person who tested positive for COVID-19 must always be maintained. Read more


We can support you if you are advised of a COVID-19 exposure. This exposure could be from a worker, visitor, contractor or patient.

Call the Practice Services team on (02) 8436 9927 or email practiceservices@adansw.com.au

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Updated Friday 5 November
 

COVID-19 Booster doses

 

Following the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) approval of the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine as a booster dose for individuals aged 18 years and above, the Australian Government will provide booster doses through the COVID-19 Vaccination Program. 

COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine booster doses are now available at participating GPs, pharmacies and NSW and ACT Government COVID-19 vaccination clinics to people aged 18+ who received their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccination more than six months ago.

Individuals remain fully vaccinated with the primary two-dose vaccination course, which provides a high level of protection against the worst effects of COVID-19. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisations recommends people working in a healthcare setting consider receiving a booster dose (click here for more information).

Getting a booster dose will provide you further protection against falling seriously ill from COVID-19 and may also reduce the chance of you transmitting the virus to others. The booster will provide additional protection and is not mandatory. 

If you’re unsure about getting a booster dose, speak to your GP or another trusted health care professional.

For further information about the boosters and to book an appointment in NSW please click here and for further information and bookings in the ACT please click here.  

 

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.

All employers have an obligation, wherever practicable, to ensure the health and safety of all their workers. This includes minimising the risks associated with exposure to communicable diseases such as COVID-19. Vaccination has been identified as an effective measure to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. Therefore, ADA NSW supports the mandating of COVID-19 vaccinations in the dental profession and the implementation of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements in dental practices for all workers.
 

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 from the 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. 
 

Asking patient's for their vaccination status 

 

There is no requirement for patients to be fully vaccinated to access dental care as part of the easing of restrictions in NSW for vaccinated adults. Please see here on the NSW Gov. website for more information.

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 such as GP (and dental practices) are still accessible for people who are not fully vaccinated.

The reason why dental practise was restricted during lockdown was to support the NSW Government’s approach to managing COVID-19 and the focus on limiting the movement of people to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in the community and to give people a chance to get vaccinated. When the community reached the 70% vaccination target movement restrictions on the community eased.
 
Therefore, 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 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).

Accordingly, ADA NSW does not support the denial of the provision of dental care to patients on the basis of their vaccination status.
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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 Thursday 28 October
 

Rapid Antigen Tests for screening dental practice staff

 

Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) 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 RATs in NSW is to screen employees for COVID-19 with no symptoms.

At the moment, the NSW Government has prioritised the use of RATs for construction sites, educational institutions, fixed and temporary community-based sites, aged care residential facilities and commercial businesses such as food production sites.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) made a new regulation to allow companies to legally supply their self-tests for use at home in Australia from 1 November 2021.

The latest conditions of supply for RATs were updated by the TGA on 20 September 2021.

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


PCR tests for patients before treatment


There is no mandate or requirement to request a negative PCR test for patients before treatment.  ADA NSW strongly recommends practitioners continue to screen patients for clinical and epidemiological criteria to ensure those with any risks are then 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 recommendation from the NSW Government mandating patients to provide evidence of a recent negative PCR test before the provision of healthcare in private health facilities.  
 

Mask wearing in the practice

 

There is still the requirement for masks to be worn in an indoor area of premises other than a place of residence. Read more

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Updated Wednesday 1 December
 

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.   Further easing of restrictions for the ACT community began on Thursday 28 October.  Read more

 
ACT Health phone line if there is an identified COVID-19 case

A phone line has been established for GPs and community healthpractitioners to call the ACT Health COVID-19 public health response team regarding an identified COVID-19 case, a patient who is positive, or an exposure in their workplace. GPs and community health practitioners can call 02 5124 5498 between 8AM and 8PM 7 days a week. This phone line should not be used for queries relating to immunisation or general COVID-19 information.


What happens if a case attends your workplace? 

If a patient, staff member, or visitor attends your practice during their infectious period, ACT Health will contact your practice directly to inform you of this and to obtain more information.

 

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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Update Wednesday 1 December

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 instructed 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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