The following is a special Covid-19 update from the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board (ODOB) 2 November 2021
From the ODOB: Alert Level Update
As you would be aware, Government announced that parts of the country will move to Alert Level 3, Step 2 over the next coming week. To find out about the regions and when the changes are to occur, we recommend visiting the Government COVID-19 website.
Alert Level 3, Step 1
These requirements have not changed since our last communication.
The Ministry of Health's flowchart on remains the best source of guidance for Allied Health practitioners in non-district health board (DHB) settings.
Remember, seeing patients should be based on risk, and that you will be required to use appropriate clinical reasoning when deciding if you need to see the patient. Telehealth and virtual appointments are still preferred.
If that is not possible, then it should be for:
- a treatment that cannot be delayed or carried out remotely without risk of significant harm or permanent and/or significant disability;
- where failure to access services will lead to an acute deterioration of a known condition; and/or
- where delay in access to services will impact the patient's ability to maintain functional independence and significantly negatively impact quality of life.
Should you decide to see the patient, you must have:
- staff being fully vaccinated;
- an understanding of the ventilation capabilities of the environment they would be operating in. For example, consider how you can maximise natural ventilation, getting in fresh or pumped-in air.
- ensure health practitioners have a high level of competence around infection prevention and control (IPC) requirements and use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Further information on this, can be found here.
Please note, the Ministry of Health's risk assessment advice is found at the bottom of the flowchart. For more information from the Ministry of Health guidance on "Alert Level 3 and 4: Health and Disability sector risk assessment for interactions with people of unknown Covid-19 status", please click here.
It is your responsibility as a practitioner to ensure you are undertaking all practicable steps to mitigate the risk of becoming a transmission vector for Covid-19. If an appointment can be deferred to a lower level, then you should do so. Commercial gain should not influence your decision making.
Alert Level 3, Step 2
The rules for this level are the same as indicated for Alert Level 3, Step 1 (see above).
In addition, if your practice operates as a retail business, then you can now open for retail and must follow the Government guidelines. Click here for more information.
Remember, it is your responsibility as a practitioner to ensure you are undertaking all practicable steps to mitigate the risk of becoming a transmission vector for Covid-19.
We are currently liaising with the Ministry of Health to gain clarity around the COVID-19 Protection Framework, also referred to as the "traffic light system" and how this will impact you. We will advise you on this, once we have further information.
There are no changes to note for those practitioners in a region currently at Alert Level 2. To review our guidance on Alert Level 2 on our website, please click here.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
Noho ora mai,
Jayesh Chouhan, Board Chair and Elmarie Stander, Registrar