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Covid-19 Clarification: Allied Health Response to Alert Level 2 and 3

On the afternoon of Wednesday 12th August, the Ministry of Health clarified areas of guidance around Allied Health practice under Alert Level 2 and 3. Previous advice on the restrictions and requirements to practice under these Alert Levels remains the same, with the following clarifications:

Alert Level 3

  •  Seeing patients face-to-face under Level 3 still requires care to be ‘urgent’, using the previous definition. This remains a very high bar. The Ministry of Health confirmed that musculoskeletal pain is not sufficient justification for ‘urgent’ care under Level 3 for Allied Health, even if significant.
  • Although contact tracing must be performed, practitioners do not need to notify OCNZ of patient appointments if the clinic has an official QR code, the patient has downloaded the Ministry of Health COVID Tracer app, and the patient successfully scans the QR code at their appointment. OCNZ will still need to be notified if the patient is unable to scan in, or where an alternative contact tracing system may have been used.

Alert Level 2 and 3

  • The use of masks for both patient and practitioner for any care under Alert Levels 2 and 3 is now strongly recommended. These are recommended to be surgical masks, and it is not necessary to use N95 masks unless performing aerosol generating procedures. It is unlikely that manual therapists will be performing aerosol generating procedures (with the exception of specialist respiratory physiotherapists), as this is a specific definition and different to ‘droplet generating procedures’.
  • There has been no change to COVID-19 screening questions, although these may be updated in the near future. The current screening algorithm can be accessed here:
    https://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/alert-_level-1-risk-assessment-questions-if-covid-19-status-is-unknown-25jun20.pdf

Other Resources

Covid-19 - 12 August 2020

As you will be aware, the New Zealand Government has advised that the Auckland region will return to Alert Level 3 from noon on Wednesday 12th August until midnight Friday 14th August, and that the rest of the country will return to Alert Level 2 for the same time period.

Until we receive further advice from the Ministry of Health, please review what these Levels mean for your ability to practice, as per our previous advice.

As before, for Level 3, the primary method of care should be via telehealth or other ways of working remotely.  Current guidance allows practitioners to treat face-to-face in the case of ‘urgent care’ but please note the very high bar set in the definition of ‘urgent care’– face-to-face care should only occur in exceptional circumstances and you should be prepared to justify your decision to treat face-to-face for each patient appointment. These requirements will apply from midday today (Wednesday 12th August), including for existing appointments, and the Osteopathic Council must be notified of each patient appointment from this time until we return to a lower Alert Level or further guidance is given.

For those returning to Level 2, please review our guidance for increased hygiene practices, physical distancing requirements, patient screening and contact tracing protocols. 

We will continue to update the profession as and when we can with any new information, as we are updated by the New Zealand Government and Ministry of Health.

Please take care of yourselves during this time of heightened alert, and we hope for a quick return to lower Alert Levels.

Further information can also be found at https://covid19.govt.nz/ and the Ministry of Health website https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

Covid-19 Level 2 and 3 Communication

Covid-19 Communication

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  • Covid-19

    Covid-19 Clarification: Allied Health Response to Alert Level 2 and 3 On the afternoon of Wednesday 12th August, the Ministry of Health clarified areas of guidance around Allied Health practice under Alert Level 2 and 3. Previous advice on the restrictions and requirements to practice under these...